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KALININGRAD, April 26 (Itar-Tass) —— Lithuania is ready to sign an agreement with Russia on local cross-border movement but with visa-free travel within no more than 50 kilometers into the country, Deputy Foreign Minister Evaldas Ignatavicius said.
He led the Lithuanian delegation to the just concluded 8th meeting of the Russian-Lithuanian Council on Long-term Cooperation between the Regional and Local Authorities of the Kaliningrad Region and Lithuania.
“We have recently signed a similar document with Belarus. If we made it 100 or 150 kilometres in our agreements on local cross-border movement with Belarus and the Kaliningrad region, the entire territory of our republic would be a border-lying area, leaving no room for Schengen in Lithuania,” the diplomat said.
He stressed that Lithuania tries to do its best to allow people living in Russia’s Kaliningrad region to visit the country. The number of visas issued by Lithuanian consulates in Kaliningrad and Sovetsk is growing as is the flow of tourists.
Ignatavicius said that all other issues concerning travel rules for the residents of the Kaliningrad region would be solved at the talks between Russia and the European Union on visa-free travel.
According to Lithuanian diplomats, almost 80,000 visas were issued to residents of the Kaliningrad region in 2011. Sixty percent of tourists come to Lithuania from the Kaliningrad region.