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MOSCOW, October 3 (Itar-Tass) — Russian Foreign Ministry is setting up interim checkpoints where the athletes arriving in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi for test competitions in the run-up to the 2014 Winter Olympics will get their Russian travel visas, a senior official at the ministry said Wednesday.
“It’s important to make all the necessary steps so that the athletes and specialists could get to the Olympic facilities in Sochi without any problems,” said Ambassador at Large Valery Kuzmin, who supervises preparations for the Olympics on the part of the ministry.
“We’re are keeping up an exchange of letters on the issue and coordinating various important issues with international organizations,” he said.
Forecasts predict the arrival of dozens of thousands of fans, mostly from Europe and North America, to the Olympics.
“I think the tourists who will have bought tickets for competitions will get some privileges and will enjoy easy visa issuance formalities, although no political decisions have been taken on this yet,” Kuzmin said.
He indicated he does not have any information on whatever blacklists of foreign citizens whose sojourn in Russia is deemed undesirable.
“We’re weighing the foreign policy risks and submitting all the information to the Organizing Committee of the Games,” Kuzmin said. “Reporters are asking questions now about Russia’s relations with Georgia and I’d like to say in this connection that there’ve never been any situations that would make us worry about the prospects for holding the Games.”
“Many things are done from scratch in Sochi for the 2014 Winter Games, unlike it was, say, in London, which hosted the Summer Games quite recently,” he said. “We’re building new roads and road interchanges, as well as hotels, and we’ve created thousands of new jobs.”
“Along with this, nature conservation areas have increases by 2.2 hectares,” Kuzmin said. “Russia will get a unique Olympic heritage and this concerns all the areas of life and activity.”