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RF, EU may sign agt on visa-free travel for service passport holders in Jan.

November 30, 2013, 21:32 UTC+3 MOSCOW
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MOSCOW, November 30, 21:02 /ITAR-TASS/. Moscow hopes that an agreement on visa-free travel for the holders of biometric service passports may be signed at the upcoming Russia-EU summit in January.

“As for the visa-free travel regime [for all others] with the EU, there will be none for the time being because our partners in the European Union are not prepared for it. Regarding service passports, we will see. A draft agreement is ready and is being studied by the European Commission. We hope that we will be able to sign the document at the Russia-EU summit in January 2014,” Deputy Foreign Minister Vasily Nebenzya told ITAR-TASS.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov earlier urged the ambassadors of 28 EU countries to speed up the transition to visa-free travel. Russia is ready to abolish visas for EU citizens and it is now the European Union’s turn to act, he said.

Lavrov assured the audience that Russia sincerely wished the European Union success and prosperity. “We are interested in our own development and the EU is our largest partner in investment and cultural cooperation,” the minister said, adding that Moscow would like to have even more intensive ties with the EU.

Moscow hopes that the visa facilitation agreement with the European Union will be ready shortly, Russian Permanent Representative to the European Union Vladimir Chizhov said earlier.

“Only one question remains - visa-free travel for the holders of service passports,” he said. “The overall mood among the EU members, and this is a political decision, was not in favour of a positive solution. The situation changed only recently and the supporters of the positive outcome gained a qualified majority in the EU Council.”

“This is not the final result yet, but I would say that negotiations have resumed. This is why I hope that we will bring this process to completion in the next several months,” Chizhov said.

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