MOSCOW, February 20 (Itar-Tass) – Moscow spoke up against mixing up visa-free travel talks with simplification of visa rules for the holders of service passports.
A Foreign Ministry source said mass media mix up two different processes: the talks on the abolition of visas for mutual trips between the EU and Russia and amendment of the Russia-EU visa facilitation agreement of May 25, 2006.
The source said the holders of blue service passports are “mainly Russian specialists working under contract in such countries as Iran, Algeria, Syria, Iraq or Venezuela, embassy administrative and service staff, and journalists of state-run news agencies.”
Some mass media said earlier that the EU had long agreed to grant visa-free travel regime to Russian citizens for short-term trips in exchange for a similar treatment of its own citizens. But the Russian Foreign Ministry allegedly demanded that the agreement be amended to include special entry rules to the Eurozone for certain nomenclature “special subjects” of whom there are about 150,000 in Russia. Reports also claimed that the holders of service passports own bank accounts and properties abroad.