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Russia, Belarus to draft recommendations on unified visa area by yearend

February 10, 22:00 UTC+3 MINSK

A joint session of Russian and Belarusian Foreign Ministries’ boards considered the issue at the end of last year

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MINSK, February 10. /TASS/. A joint Russian-Belarusian workgroup may draft recommendations on a common visa area for the two countries before the yearend, the Russian Ambassador in Minsk, Alexander Surikov told TASS.

He recalled that a joint session of Russian and Belarusian Foreign Ministries’ boards considered the issue at the end of last year.

"We described it as a mutual recognition of travel visas," Surikov said. "A person who receives a travel visa to the Republic of Belarus will also have the right to visit the Russian Federation. Vice versa, a person who gets a Russia visa will have the right to go to Belarus."

"A group of experts has been set up," he went on. "It includes representatives of the Russian and Belarusian Interior and Foreign Ministries who are getting down to more detailed discussions of the issue."

"I don’t think the discussions will produce immediate results but we’ll sure get some result this year," Surikov said. "We’ll get the understanding of how and what we should do to get this mechanism of mutual recognition of visas off the ground."

"I think we’ll get recommendations from the joint workgroup (…) by the end of this year," he said. "Discussions will be held then on the signing of an agreement."

Surikov answered in the negative when TASS asked him if the introduction of a border control zone in the areas of Russia adjoining the border with Belarus had slowed down the efforts towards the mutual recognition of visas. "No, it hasn’t. This work is in progress," he said.

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