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Opinions & Interviews

26 Nov 2015

Skvortsov: Abolition of visas between Belarus and Israel hailed as landmark event

MINSK, 26 November (BelTA) - The abolition of visas between Belarus and Israel is a landmark event, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Belarus to Israel Vladimir Skvortsov said in an interview with BelTA.

"In my opinion, this move will be a serious stimulus for the development of the entire range of the Belarusian-Israeli relations. 26 November, the day when the visa-free travel agreement entered into force, marked, in fact, the start of the new format in the bilateral dialogue, which is strategically important for Belarus and Israel. This move was long awaited by the public in both states,” the Ambassador said added.

According to the Ambassador, the mere fact of abolition of visa formalities symbolizes trust and hence is the impetus for exploring the country. "Travel planning has become easier. It is of great importance for the participants of foreign economic activity, representatives of the business community who often need to chart quickly a transit route from one country to another. Henceforth, the absence of visa requirements will be a stimulus to visit Belarus,” said Vladimir Skvortsov.

According to the diplomat, along with positive advances in the field of business contacts the cancelation of visa requirements will spur noticeable advancements in the cooperation in other areas including tourism, cultural, scientific or inter-agency exchanges. "But more importantly, I want to emphasize the following: the abolition of visas would help strengthen interpersonal relations which is the foundation of our relations,” he added.

Vladimir Skvortsov explained that the objective preconditions for abolishing visas between Belarus and Israel have existed for a long time. The signing of the intergovernmental agreement on the abolition of visas for holders of national passports was made possible thanks to the high level of relations between the two countries in recent years.

"These are long-standing ties. They are based on the solid foundation of our unique historical past, which bonds the Belarusians and Jews. After all, for six centuries the two peoples lived side by side in the Belarusian lands being good neighbors and showing respect for each other. This move was long overdue considering the links between tens of thousands of families and friendship attitude of many, many people in both countries. The abolition of the visa regime facilitates reciprocal visits and inter-human contacts,” stressed the head of the Belarusian diplomatic mission in Israel.

The Ambassador also recalled that the initiative on abolishing visas with Israel and several other countries was first put forward by Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko as he delivered the annual address to the Belarusian people and the Parliament in April 2013. It was supported by Israel at the political level. Then the parties started working on the draft intergovernmental agreement. All modalities of both the document and its implementation mechanisms were carefully worked out. The experience of other countries with similar agreements was studied. 

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