MOSCOW, April 27 (Itar-Tass) —— The Russian Foreign Ministry will broaden its missions abroad for being more efficient in helping Russian citizens who find themselves in trouble, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in an interview with Rossiya 24 on Friday.
“Thirty million people go abroad each year. There is an accident per every 5,000 trips, and people need help,” he said. “We have a personnel shortage.”
There are only two consular workers in Antalya, which is visited by three million Russian tourists a year, he said. The number of tourist arrivals in the Dominican Republic is also growing, but Russia has no consulate there at all. So far, consulates are opening only in Sharm-el-Sheikh and Hurghada, Egypt.
“So we ask our president and government for assisting our citizens abroad. We are broadening the legal framework, which will allow us to be more efficient, in particular, in the financial respect,” he said.
The minister gave a number of recommendations to tourists. First of all, a reliable tour operator should be chosen, and an insurance policy should be bought, he said.
“It is also necessary to get registered at the consulate even if the trip lasts for several days only. That does not have to be done personally, it is possible to do that online. The procedure will take ten minutes of your time but you will be notified about a possible incident or preparing evacuation. That is my insistent recommendation,” Lavrov said.
He also recalled the assistance given to Russian pilots imprisoned in Tajikistan and the Costa Concordia cruiser liner accident.
“I visited Dushanbe recently and spoke to President Rahmon and the foreign minister. I said the pilots returned home but the accusations were not dropped, at least as regards our citizen Sadovnichy. His lawyer is seeking a court hearing, which would recognize him innocent, and we will support this appeal,” Lavrov said.
“As for the Costa Concordia accident in Italy, I can understand the emotions of people who survived in a terrible situation. Our diplomats came earlier than diplomats from other countries. Hotel accommodation was provided very quickly. The tourists were supplied with food, drugs and clothes. There was a doctor there, too,” he said.
The minister disagreed with the claims of certain tourists to the issue of ids. The tourists said on television they were given ‘some paper instead of a passport.’ “We cannot issue a passport, we give a paper, which is called the return certificate,” he said. “The embassy has no right to issue other documents, and passports will be restored at home,” he said.