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MOSCOW, March 12 (Itar-Tass) – Russia does not oppose servicemen and officials from the state-run corporations may be banned to claim for visa-free trips to the EU states on service passports, Russian Ambassador-at-Large Anvar Azimov told a press conference on Tuesday.
“We do not issue and will not issue biometrical service passports to the servicemen. The European Union also intends to ban officials from the Russian state-run corporations to claim for visa-free trips to the EU states on service passports. We agreed on this step,” he underlined.
In the view of the diplomat, under the agreements with Russia about 15,000 biometrical service passports will be issued, and this figure is suitable for the European Union. “We do not issue and will not issue biometrical service passports to the servicemen. The second category is administrative and technical employees of the embassies and the trade missions, they should receive visas,” Azimov said.
Meanwhile, Russia called for the visa-free regime for the holders of the service biometrical passports to be spread on regional and federal Russian civil servants. He recalled that not all deputy ministers have diplomatic passports, usually only the ministers and their first deputies have them. “They are the officials, who are directly linked with our multi-vector cooperation with the EU. We are interested in representatives of the state agencies to travel without visas and agreed that the number of biometrical service passports will not exceed 15,000,” the ambassador noted.
Azimov noted that most likely this month a delegation from the consular department of the Russian Foreign Ministry will visit Brussels to discuss the modernization of the agreement over easier visa rules that also envisages the provision to cancel the visa formalities for the holders of the service biometrical passports.
On Monday, Director General for Home Affairs of the European Commission Stefano Manservisi voiced the EU position on the issue in Moscow that visas should not be cancelled for Russian servicemen and officials of Russian state-run corporations, who hold the service passports.