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 Post subject: Re: Abolishing the Visa requirement for Russia
Post Number:#61  PostPosted: 03 May 2011 08:53 
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viking wrote:
Wiz

If you research a littler, you will discover there is a political and a consumer 'free travel perception.

  1. The political visa free travel, can be put a side the Schengen, which mean a complete removal of all barriers = no passport control.
  2. A consumer free travel would be the 90 days per ½ year, where you dont need visa, but need to line up at the passport control. This one, is not so far away in the future.

I was consued about this too meself, until I found two a more or less identical explanation. So when the press write about the free travel, its actually the political one.

I retype, I would perfectly happy for NO visa for 1 months and has no problem of waiting in line at the passport control and don't have to make registration.

Viking
The travelling public don't care much about the political free travel perception and rightly understand the concept of the visa free travel to mean that they can travel to a country, without having to go through the cumbersome and costly procedure for acquiring a visa to visit a country for a short holiday, e.g as you mention for up to 90 days.

The UK issues a 6 months multi entry tourist visas when Russians apply for one but the Russians have a maximum of 30 Days validity. The extension of the Russian family visa for up to 3 months double entry visa, it is simply a pain in the a$$ and very costly for most of us that we do not live in the Capital. The visa registration requirement in Russia ..... another pain in the a$$, indicates to me a "cold war mentality" by their Government!

I don't know if you are aware but Ukraine has unilaterally abolished the visa requirement for the EU and USA citizens for stays up to 90 days...... and if you had a look at the tourist arrivals stats I posted earlier...... has benefited immensely.

I get the impression that the Russian Government and people still live in the USSR years .... 50 years back! [bad.gif]

  1. I don't think the largest country of the world, for various reasons, would ever become a member of the EU for this to apply, so it's a non starter avenue.

  2. I hope you are right and happens soon ... but personally I have my doubts that nothing will move before the Olympic Games in Sochi in 2014. What you heard and read lately is nothing more than blah blah blah.

    In my view it's too early to expect any concrete movements for visa liberalization between the EU and Russia. What we may see is an agreement on a step by step implementation of what to do to free up the way towards that long-term goal.

    Basically they just will be indentifying many difficult things, which the EU and Russia still have to do before they can talk about the prospect of visa-free travel. At the moment they are writing a piece of paper but not moving towards visa-free travel yet.

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 Post subject: Re: Abolishing the Visa requirement for Russia
Post Number:#62  PostPosted: 03 May 2011 20:05 
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Visa-free travel between Russia and EU still only on the horizon

Listen to this interview posted in VOICE OF RUSSIA: http://english.ruvr.ru

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Visa-free travel between Russia and EU still only on the horizon


Interview with Katinka Barysch, Deputy Director at the Center for European Reform in London.

Russia’s envoy to the EU Vladimir Chizhov said, Russia and the EU were currently preparing packs of joint measures, and he hopes, this document will be discussed and agreed during the next weeks. So can we expect any concrete decisions during the next weeks?

It would be too early to expect any concrete movements to visa liberalization between the EU and Russia. What you might see is an agreement on a step by step implementation of what to do to free up the way towards that long-term goal. But this is indentifying many difficult things, which the EU and Russia still have to do before we can talk about the prospect of visa-free travel. At the moment what we are doing is writing a piece of paper; we are not moving towards visa-free travel yet.

Russia and the EU announced their long-term plan on the visa-free regime at the St. Petersburg Economic Forum in 2003; almost 8 years have passed, but we don’t see any significant results in this direction. What are the main difficulties?

There are two main difficulties: one is, that the EU-Russian relationship in many ways doesn’t work as most people would like. It is not in the visa negotiations, that we see a lack of progress; if you look over all EU-Russian relationship, all the things, we are trying to do, such as establishing a well-functioning energy dialog, writing an agreement on how to cooperate in our common neighborhood – so, for all these things there have made very little progress. There is some fundamental problem in the EU-Russian relations, about how do we get these things done, that we want to do. The other issue is that there is a need for political environment in Western Europe and in new member states in Central and Eastern Europe, to what some immigration at the moment described fearful and cautious. Europe is only just slowly coming out of deep recession, unemployment is high, and people generally are against more immigrants, no matter where they come from. So that is a very important political impediment to visa liberalization with any country, and in particularly such big country as Russia.

But what needs to be done to accelerate the introduction of visa-free regime?

On the one hand, you would have to have a proper immigration policy on the part of European nations; most European nations have badly developed immigration policies. Now countries are slowly moving to what immigration system stands: favoring more highly skilled people, setting schemes, so people can come to live and work for a little while in Western Europe, and, perhaps, go back to the home countries, but these developments are on the early stages; it is only, when we have better immigration policy, people will see benefit on economy and be able to be less fearful of immigration. On the Russian side there are many security concerns, Europe want Russians to have secure passports, to have a very tight grip on who from Russia can enter the Schengen Area of passport-free travel, for that the need for a very good readmission regime; for example, if suddenly a lot of people from Asia use Russian territory to enter the European Union and Russia would be obliged to take them back. Another issue is the political situation in the North Caucasus, people in Western Europe are frankly afraid, that if this instability get worse, a large flow of refugees and people, who want to avoid the problems they are facing at home, will come to countries such as Germany, France, the Netherlands.

Dmitry Medvedev has declared Russia’s readiness to scrap the visa regime with the EU, but there are some experts believe, the European Union is showing no rush to leave visa requirements for Russia, despite Moscow’s readiness for the move. Do you agree with that?

I, having been going to Russia for many years, I can always sent that the Russian side is trying harder to get accesses to Western Europe, because they don’t find it harder to get a visa to Russia. I don’t believe, that Russia itself will undertake major steps to make it easier for European travelers to Russia, unless Europe takes seriously the idea of visa liberalization on our part.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said that a high-quality partnership between Russia and the European Union would be impossible without solving the issue of simplifying the visa regime between Russia and the EU. Also Prime Minister Vladimir Putin urged the EU to determine terms and schedule for preparing the visa regime, saying that delays in the process are causing problems in relations between Moscow and Brussels. Can you comment on that?

The kind of relationship, that the European Union would like to have with Russia, is one of very deep and comprehensive integration. There is just launched a new project, called the Modernization Partnership; in which you would see lots of cooperation on things, that would benefit the modernization of the Russian economy, researches, innovation, cleaner energy, the reforms of the bureaucracy. For that you obviously need people to go back and forth. Most of the member states of the European Union are concluding by monetization partnerships with Russia. It is obviously a need of people to go back and forth, and unless we have easier visa requirements for certain groups of people: students, researchers, business people, this modernization partnership simply cannot function.

The Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said, Russia and the EU would move closer to introduce some mutual visa free-travel regime this year. And what is your focus? How long will the process of abolishing visa requirements take?

I don’t know, how long it would take, I just guess, it might take many years, now there are many steps, that we can do to make exchanges between Russia and European countries easier. It is not only on the European side; there are a lot of companies in the UK and across Europe, who have great difficulties sending their people to Russia. It is, for example, very difficult to get employment visas for the European staff in Moscow. It is not a one-way thing, it toughened this process, and both sides need to move.

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 Post subject: Re: Abolishing the Visa requirement for Russia
Post Number:#63  PostPosted: 02 Jun 2011 22:52 
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Hi

Soon a EU-Russian summit, 9-10th of June. However the roadmap to 'short stay' = 90 days free visa, has failed, at May 31th, says one headline in a paper, payable. But in another paper indicated, that the agreement made, however need to be ratified in all 27 EU's national Parlament, before its good for EU.
I dont know wich is true !!! [embarrased.gif]


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 Post subject: Re: Abolishing the Visa requirement for Russia
Post Number:#64  PostPosted: 04 Jun 2011 09:30 
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I read somewhere that nothing will happen for a free passage without the need of a Visa to Russia before the 2018, when they will host the world cup!

It appears to me that the Russian Government still lives in the Cold Ward era! [biggrin.gif]


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 Post subject: Re: Abolishing the Visa requirement for Russia
Post Number:#65  PostPosted: 05 Jun 2011 06:50 
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One more time (4th) writing to the President


President of the Russian Federation....................................................... June 2011
Ilinka Str, No 23
103132,
Moscow,
Russia.


Your Excellency

I have written, to you, 3 times in the past, on 14 January 2010, 28 October 2010 and also 8 February 2011 regarding a Visa and immigration problem that myself, a Greek National and few other persons have to face, each time we need to visit our extended Russian families. The problem we are faced is that we cannot travel to Russia at a moments notice in an emergency situation.

My wife, a Russian National, applied under the European Directive 2004/38/EU and was granted a Resident Card, FREE of any charges, by the British Government. Her Resident Card allows my wife not only to reside in the UK with entitlement to work freely but also to FREE National Health Care and other state benefits. Additionally my wife can travel to any European country that is a member of the European community without the need for a Schegen or any other type of Visa.

I hope the Russian Federation, in preparation of the pending Visa Free Agreement with the EU, would consider to reciprocate by making an amendment to the Federal Law of 15th August 1996 № 114-FL "On the procedure of entering and leaving the Russian Federation" for family members of Russian Nationals, as amended and effective from 12th March 2010, to “additionally permit the Consular Authorities to issue a 5 year Multi Entry visa for close Family Members (spouses)” Nationals of the EU countries, members of the Schegen Visa Agreement, irrespective of their current country of residence, which will be also in line with the EU- Russian Federation Agreement in force as of the 1st of June 2007.

I hope your Excellency would reconsider my request and help me to resolve this problem.

Your sincerely

wiz aka Yannis


Who Knows?
His staff maybe will get tired of me and let him read my letters..... [drink-coffee.gif]

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 Post subject: Re: Abolishing the Visa requirement for Russia
Post Number:#66  PostPosted: 14 Jun 2011 20:19 
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Visa-free travel between Russia and EU
still only on the horizon


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Current AGREEMENT since 1st June 2007
between the European Community and the Russian Federation on the facilitation of
the issuance of visas to the citizens of the European Union and the Russian Federation


See posts 26 and also 34 earlier.


With regards to the above agreement and posts I applied to the EU representation department in Moscow for clarification of certain articles regarding the issue of 5 year Multi Entry Visas according to the Sochi agreement of 2007.


Mr D.... D........ ....................................................................................................... 3 June 2011
Delegation of the European Union to Russia
14/1, Kadashevskaya embankment
Moscow, 119017,
Russian Federation



Dear Mr D...........

I am writing to ask your help regarding the correct interpretation of 2 articles of the Sochi Agreement 2006 between the EU and the Russian Federation.

I am a Greek National living legally in the UK together with my Russian National wife, who has acquired a RESIDENT CARD under the EU Directive 2004/38/EU. My wife has been travelling for the past 3 years, together with myself, freely and without the need of having a Visa in many European Countries.

On the other hand, I cannot travel to Russia without a Visa and as a husband of a Russian National I can apply for a family visa for up to 3 months to be able to visit OUR house and my old mother in Law. To make the application my wife and I have to travel to London by train and spent all day in the Russian Visa Centre, so my wife can write there in person her invitation.

Reading the Sochi Agreement, I see that it is permitted the issue of a multi entry 5 year visa to Russians as also to EU Nationals but I get the impression, when I made an enquiry with the Russian Consulate, the interpretation I was given of the articles 3 and 5 is wrong.

Could you please let me know the correct interpretation of the following paragraphs highlighted below?


AGREEMENT
between the European Community and the Russian Federation on the facilitation of
the issuance of visas to the citizens of the European Union and the Russian Federation


Article 3

Definitions


For the purpose of this Agreement:

(e) ‘legally residing person’ shall mean:

— for the Russian Federation, a citizen of the European Union who acquired a permission for temporary residing, a residence permit or an educational or working visa for a period of more than 90 days in the Russian Federation,

— for the European Union, a citizen of the Russian Federation authorised or entitled to stay for more than 90 days in the territory of a Member State, on the basis of Community or national legislation.



Article 5

Issuance of multiple-entry visas


1. Diplomatic missions and consular posts of the Member States and of the Russian Federation shall issue multiple-entry visas with the term of validity of up to five years to the following categories of citizens:

(b) spouses and children (including adopted), who are under the age of 21 or are dependant, visiting citizens of the European Union and the Russian Federation legally residing in the territory of the Russian Federation or the Member States, with the term of validity limited to the duration of the validity of their authorisation for legal residence.


Interpretation by the Russian Consulate:

A: My wife, who is a Russian citizen, living legally in the UK, can invite close relatives to visit or stay here for long time, BUT me as Greek citizen I can't.

B: In Russia the same happens in the opposite direction. The Russian Nationals can't invite any relatives but the EU National, legally residing there, can!

Could you please verify that the above is the correct interpretation of articles 3 and 5 of the said Agreement?

Look forward to hearing from you soon.

Yannis .... (wiz)

Image


Dear Mr Yannis P...........,

Thank you for your message and our telephone conversation earlier this week. In reply, and having received views of my colleagues in Brussels who deal closely with the monitoring of the EU-Russia Visa Facilitation Agreement, I can now provide you with the following considerations:

As you note, the EU-Russia Visa Facilitation Agreement lays down rules on the issuance of visas to EU citizens by Russian authorities. You quote Article 5(1)(b) of the Agreement which indeed foresees that "Diplomatic missions and consular posts of the Member States and of the Russian Federation shall issue multiple-entry visas with the term of validity of up to five years to ... spouses and children (including adopted), who are under the age of 21 or are dependant, visiting citizens of the European Union and the Russian Federation legally residing in the territory of the Russian Federation or the Member States, with the term of validity limited to the duration of the validity of their authorisation for legal residence."

This provision has always been interpreted by both the EU and Russia as being limited to EU citizens travelling to Russia to visit EU citizen family members legally residing in Russia and Russian citizens travelling to the EU to visit Russian family members legally residing in the EU, thus excluding EU citizens travelling to Russia to visit Russian family members and Russian citizens travelling to the EU to visit EU citizen family members. [angry2.gif]

The latter cases are currently only regulated by the internal legislation of the EU and Russia respectively.

They were excluded from the scope of application of the Visa Facilitation Agreement as Russian family members visiting EU citizens, who exercised their right to move and reside freely within the EU, in the EU are granted special treatment by Directive 2004/38/EC. In particular, Member States must grant such persons every facility to obtain the necessary visas. The EU has furthermore laid down in Article 24 of the Visa Code, that establishes the procedures and conditions for the issuing of short-stay visas to third-country nationals, that multiple-entry visas shall be issued with a period of validity between six months and five years to a bona fide applicant who proves the need or justifies the intention to travel frequently and/or regularly, in particular due to his family status, such as family members of EU citizens. As regards Russia, according to the information from the Russian authorities no similar provision exists in Russian law.

In light of the foregoing, the Joint Committee in May 2010 suggested to extend Article 5 (1) (b) of the Visa Facilitation Agreement to EU citizens visiting close relatives who are Russian citizens residing in Russia and, on a basis of reciprocity, Russian citizens visiting close relatives who are EU citizens residing in their Member State of nationality. To the latter category, Directive 2004/38/EC, in principle, does not apply. In addition, the Joint Committee suggested to extend the provisions on a visa fee waiver (Article 6 (3) (a) of the Visa Facilitation Agreement) and a simplification of supporting documents to prove the purpose of the travel (Article 4 (1) (j) of the Visa Facilitation Agreement) to these persons as well.

The EU and the Russian Federation have meanwhile started the negotiations on amendments to the Visa Facilitation Agreement on the basis of the suggestions of the Joint Committee. Such amendments, if agreed, will enter into force once the two Parties have completed their respective ratification procedures.

Best regards,
J... T........

Finally is getting clearer who is dragging its feet!

It is not the EU who is stalling the FREE movement between the EU and Russia, as highlighted above but Russia!

The above proposition would solve a lot of mixed married couples visa problems, when travelling to Russia and minimise the high costs of getting a visa.

From what I know, so far, Russia has not signed any agreement to accept back any illegals and over stayers, which the EU rightly has asked for.

Additionally the "humiliating" and time wasting registration requirement for foreigners, shows how difficult and uninviting, backward looking country, Russia is!

The "Cold War" is not over yet for their Government ......... but soon or later will come to realise the benefits that massive tourism will bring to their country! [drink-coffee.gif]

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 Post subject: Re: Abolishing the Visa requirement for Russia
Post Number:#67  PostPosted: 23 Jun 2011 07:47 
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The number of tourists from Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, France, Austria and Norway fell up to 24 percent in the first quarter of 2011 as compared with the same period in 2010, according to the State Statistics Service. Meanwhile, the number of Russians going to those countries increased.

Almost all of the operators surveyed by the Tourism Industry Union listed high visa prices and the complexity of visa acquisition as the main barriers to incoming tourism. The "humiliating" registration requirements for foreigners, signs in the Cyrillic alphabet and the lack of modern transport also dampen tourism, said union presidium member Irina Tyurina.

Recent government actions have only made the problem worse, tourism representatives said.

Russian visa centers opened in Spain in the beginning of 2011, after which Spanish tour operators' accreditation in Russian consulates was revoked, and they were forced to wait in line at the visa centers. The time for processing Russian visas has now increased to 8 to 21 days from 3 to 10 days, while Spanish visas can still be processed in 4 to 5 days.


Moscow Times, By Lena Smirnova , 23 June 2011, READ full article Tourist Slump [click-me.gif] .

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 Post subject: Re: Abolishing the Visa requirement for Russia
Post Number:#68  PostPosted: 03 Jul 2011 12:08 
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Hi there [hi.gif]

This is my first post on this site and I previously posted this on the Real Russia site.


This is for information only and I thought I would share my experiences as It took me over 4 hours to complete the VFS global ' online' application (private visa) as there is also not enough online form guidance.

I just emailed this as complaint to them as well. Although they are very good though at telling you of your online errors it was just frustrating in solving some of the errors as it was not recognising my answers if indeed it needed an answer!

My wife had to attend in person to sign the form hence not used Real Russia. Luckly we live in London (we are off to Kazan late July). Feel sorry for those who have expensive train journeys to make to London.

I have been ‘locked out’ a few times showing ‘server error’ messages when trying to progress (some of which was within the time limit) and no connection or browser problem at my end.

  1. You cannot alter the 'Type' of visa you want after you have 'saved it' to come back later e.g. double entry to single, meaning you have to complete the form again, or cancel the application so make sure you get this bit right as people may change their plans.

  2. It will not let you redo another form unless you cancel the previous one. I know this is obvious to some people but it should still be stated.

  3. I should mention; - keep all phone numbers together, no spaces- again it does not state this.

  4. Not to use commas as addresses and lists of 10 countries you have been to and 'professional bodies you are members of' are not recognised. (although only one coma in my work address but managed to get away with it).

  5. For Private Visa’s the ‘organisation’ or ‘private address’ ( the Russian method) of my 'mother in law' was not recognised this was the main hold up. I typed it out about 10 different ways and it still did not let me onto the next page but when I typed 'NONE' it let me onto the next page.

    This should be mentioned in their guidance. If people have problems at least you can get on to the second page and get your 'WEB ID' to return to the form. You cannot return to the form without it!!). and it can always be corrected at the VFS office.

  6. I was more successful using Internet Explorer than Firefox as the Firefox kept crashing (I have windows 7 is this a problem?). They may need to talk to their I T people about this.

    In the light of the above issues 30 minutes is not enough time to complete the online form (especially when you are the wrong side of 50).

    I have now successfully completed the form even though it was outside time limits.

    I know It would have been quicker to hand write it or just go for the basic tourist visa and not a private one and yet it will all go online in July- HELP!

Hopefully, members will find this useful and would stop people going through the same experience as I did.

AND VFS global must make it clearer in thier instructions so Online visa forms should really be a less frustrating and challenging experience for customers. I suspect it is a ploy for people to use thier premium rate helpline telephone number but suggest emailing them as it is free.

On another matter Austrian embassy did not charge for wifes schengan visa earier this year (she has ILR).

This is what happened at my Appointment

A correction with regards to the inviting 'private organisation' box where I previously wrote NONE (see above) to get me onto the next online page. Apparently I was told that had to put my wifes name in reverse (no comma's) even though she was accommpanying me.

They have two Pc's in the office for you to make corrections and print off new forms there.

In addition, the only things they wanted (despite me bringing all the usual stuff you need) is my passport, my wifes passport, marriage certificate (which was in Russian anyway) a picture, which they did not use on the visa. Also my Wife had to complete a form as well. [I let wife do all talking when I was there.]

My advice, get there early 8.30 as you will be outnumbered by staff and will not have to wait. Also you will have access to the pc's if you have to make a correction on your form (we were only there 20 minutes). [If you arrive later and need to make corrections there may be a queue for the pc's].

The key thing is to get a 'Web ID' and to complete the form at least I could redo it again. When printing make sure you click on the 'down load/print' link on the right of the box. Also put your name on the back of the photo, Once again It is not obvious you should do any of this by VFS. Even the UKBA lose photos and send passports back to the wrong people.

Good luck everyone. [wave.gif]
Kevin


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 Post subject: Re: Abolishing the Visa requirement for Russia
Post Number:#69  PostPosted: 03 Jul 2011 22:16 
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From the
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Quote:
France Unveils 5-Year Visas With Russia
03 July 2011 The Moscow Times

France and Russia announced Friday that they would introduce five-year multiple-entry visas by the end of this year, Interfax reported.

After a meeting with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, visiting Foreign Minister of France Alain Juppe confirmed France's decision to cancel short-term visas between the two countries as soon as possible, the report said.

The visa allows entry into countries of Europe's Schengen zone, which consists of 25 members and includes Italy, Spain, Switzerland and others.

In early June, Russia signed an agreement with the European Union about the five-year visas, which would be given to Russians who previously visited EU countries on short-term visas.

For the full article click the Image


Caveat
The question that must be asked is, how many false dawns have we seen?

I myself will only believe this when I see factual evidence.

The other issue is that even if the 5 year visa agreement between France and Russia does come into fruition it will make no difference to UK citizens unless they can find a way to acquire French nationality.

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 Post subject: Re: Abolishing the Visa requirement for Russia
Post Number:#70  PostPosted: 04 Jul 2011 12:24 
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Hello Kevin [hi.gif]

and [welcome1.gif] to the board.

Thanks very much for posting your experience with the Russian Visa Centre in London.

At the time that I visited the centre, in London, last May and posted here my experience, I thought I was probably the unlucky one, due to my disdain for any official Beaurocracy and especially dealing with Russian Officialdom and jobs worth individuals. Your post confirmed my comments at the time and the frustration that I had to go through just to get a visa for 14 days, and for that privilege by the Russians you have to pay dearly just to be allowed to visit your own house there. [sick.gif]

viewtopic.php?p=3036#p3036

I am sure your comments and advice will be very helpful to other people and I hope you can continue posting any new information and advice you come across.

[thanks.gif]

wiz

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