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 Post subject: Re: Britain's strict visa rules
Post Number:#11  PostPosted: 09 Mar 2010 08:31 
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“No objective obstacles exist for visa abolition
between Russia and EU”

Russian Today TV -Published 09 March, 2010, 06:31

A series of consultations on visa-free travel between Russia and the EU carried out in 2007-2009 showed there are no objective obstacles to visa abolition, said Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Andrey Nesterenko.

In his weekly media address, Nesterenko commented on visa-free travel, which has recently come into spotlight, as well as some other foreign policy developments.

RT presents the full transcript of Andrey Nesterenko’s briefing, which took place on March 4, 2010.

Prospects for Russia-EU visa-free dialogue

We note the Russian media’s increased interest in the theme of a visa-free dialogue between Russia and the EU. In this regard, we would like to highlight the following points.

We started discussion with the European Union on the possibility of abolishing the visa regime way back at the Russia-EU summit in St. Petersburg in 2003. In 2007-2009 our Ministry held a series of extensive consultations within the framework of the visa-free dialogue, during which we discussed all EU concerns. Based on their results, we can safely say that no objective obstacles exist for visa abolition. Reasons of a political rather than a technical nature stand in the way of a visa-free regime.

Russia has repeatedly stated, including at the highest level, its preparedness to shift to visa-free travel, figuratively speaking, “even tomorrow,” and confirmed it with concrete examples: on May 21, 2008 fans from a number of European Union member countries were able to enter Russia for the final UEFA Champions League match without visas, and tourist groups arriving in Russia by ferry can stay on the territory of Russia without a visa for 72 hours.

However, our EU colleagues have shied away from specific agreements in this regard. It is regrettable that, having coped 20 years ago with the Berlin Wall, Europe – not our fault – still cannot part with such a rudiment of the past as the visa regime. Incidentally, this is an obvious non-fulfillment by our EU partners of their commitments under the Helsinki Final Act of the CSCE (OSCE) on freedom of movement, as well as the CSCE (OSCE) Vienna Document of 1989, which speaks of “the reciprocal abolition of entry visas” by participating states of the CSCE (OSCE).

Separately, I would like to draw your attention to a recently published remark of a “diplomatic source in Brussels” that without 27 readmission agreements between Russia and the EU member states, “visas can’t be abolished.” We emphasize that the May 25, 2006, EU-Russia Agreement on Readmission is being successfully carried out in respect to nationals of the states of the high contracting parties, and from June 1, 2010, will also be applied to third-country citizens. Thus, this question can be no obstacle.

We welcome the disposition of the current Spanish EU Presidency to move, finally, from words to deeds. In particular, we are talking about ensuring that the upcoming EU-Russia summit in Rostov-on-Don (May 31–June 1 of this year) agrees on a possible timetable for the abolition of the visa regime. Of course, it is unlikely that this will happen tomorrow or the day after tomorrow, but fixing such a period will be a driving factor for both us and Brussels to gradually move toward the ultimate goal.


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