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24 Nov 2016

Secure nature of Belarusian-Russian border crossing system underscored

MINSK, 24 November (BelTA) – The system for crossing the Belarusian-Russian border is effective and sufficient from the point of view of security, BelTA learned from Dmitry Mironchik, Head of the Information Office, Press Secretary of the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on 24 November.

The spokesman said: “We believe that the system that has been in place for virtually 20 years already is effective, smart, and sufficient from the point of view of security. Among other things it doesn’t scare off bona fide travelers such as businessmen, tourists, trucking companies and other ones. Yet the system’s improvement is a continuous process.”

The Belarusian side considers the lack of borders between Belarus and Russia as one of the most significant accomplishments of the Union State of Belarus and Russia. “Citizens of Belarus and Russia as well as citizens of third countries enjoy the real freedom of movement. There are huge benefits from the human and economic points of view. Among other things the fact makes transit via Russia and Belarus appealing for foreigners,” added the Press Secretary.

Dmitry Mironchik underlined that convenient travels for third-country citizens do not mean the lack of control. Third-country citizens have to enter the territory of Belarus and Russia via international border checkpoints using valid visas.

“Moreover, Belarus and Russia use the same list of unwanted foreigners to process visa applications and perform border control functions. The relevant Belarusian-Russian agreement has been in effect for years,” pointed out the official. “Foreigners are issued uniform migration cards on entry. They have to show them when they intend to leave the country and when they have to pass control procedures in Belarus and Russia. In other words, any violations are quite easily detected and punished.”

Dmitry Mironchik said that now the Russian side sees the lack of international border checkpoints at the Belarusian-Russian border as a problem. “If our partners believe it is inconvenient for them, then the problem should be addressed. There are several ways of doing it. Apart from building checkpoints Belarus and Russia could mutually recognize each other’s visas as valid for transit purposes. By the way, this mechanism was created within the framework of the Commonwealth of Independent States and was used by Belarus and Russia in the past. But in the early 2000s Moscow was the first party to abandon it. Now Belarusian and Russian specialists are once again discussing it. We will have to wait and see what options the experts will come up with,” said the Press Secretary.

The representative of the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs added that as attempts are being made to resolve the situation, it is of crucial importance for the Belarusian side to avoid drastic, one-side actions that may create problems for third-country citizens and Belarusian companies, in particular, trucking companies and travel agencies.

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