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MOSCOW, September 27 (Itar-Tass) —— Russia hopes to sign an agreement with the European Union cancelling entry visas for holders of service passports before the Russia-European Union summit meeting in December, Russian Ambassador At Large Anvar Azimov said on Thursday.
“I hope in October-November we will arrive at an agreement with partners in the European Union in what concerns service passports,” he said. “An agreement [to cancel entry visas for holder of such passports] may be signed either before the December Russia-European Union summit in Brussels, or after it.”
All the same, he said, nothing dramatic will happen if the document is not signed. “Now, we have abolished visas for holders of diplomatic passports for a term of 90 days a year,” he reminded. “We are working to modernize the 2006 agreement on easing the visa regime to abolish visa formalities for holders of service passports.”
According to the diplomat, the problem with service passports is that the European Union authorities say there are too many of them. “Yes, we do have many service passports, slightly more than 100,000,” he said. “It was suggested that entry visas should be abolished only for holder of biometric service passport, and there are only 7,500 such passports.”
At the same time he admitted that agreement on complete abolishment of the visa regime might take long. “We are interested to speed up the process of signing. It may take months, maybe, years,” he said and added that Moscow hopes to finally come to an agreement “either by the Olympics Games in 2014 or in the second half of the year.” “It is deadline to square our systems,” he noted.