Russia will not introduce visa-free regime for EU citizens unilaterally

19:34, June 11, 2010      

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Russia will not introduce a visa-free regime for the European Union (EU) citizens before Brussels is ready to abolish visas for Russians, said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Friday.

"We prefer to be guided by the principle of reciprocity in international relations," the minister said in an interview with the Kommersant newspaper on Friday, hoping to reach a swift agreement on the issue.

Lavrov said some countries less favorable than Russia in terms of criminality have already had a visa-free regime with the EU.

"Concerning the visa-free regime, it has become a problem for the EU first of all, and its possibility to reach an agreement. And there is no reason for our colleagues to take offence at," he said.

Russian Foreign Ministry expected the EU to make some decisions on the issue, saying that now it was a matter of political affairs.

Russia presented a draft agreement introducing visa-free travel regime with EU during the just concluded 25th Russia-EU summit in the southern city of Rostov-on-Don.

Discussions on visa-free travel between Russia and Europe have lasted for seven years. Moscow was annoyed that EU plans to abolish visas for Albanian and Bosnian nationals instead of the Russians.

Europeans, in turn, are not happy with Russia's visitor registration system that requires foreigners to register three days before their arrival.

Source: Xinhua


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