MOSCOW, January 15./TASS/. Russia may introduce visa-free travel with almost all Latin American counties within the next two years, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told his annual news conference on Monday.
"In fact, we enjoy visa-free travel with all bar four-five countries of Central America and the Caribbean," he said. "And I am sure that in the next year to one-and-a-half years we will be able to make the whole CELAC zone (Community of Latin American and Caribbean States) visa-free for the Russian Federation," he added.
"We have rather big potential that we are putting into practice: we have regular summit level meetings," he said, focusing on Russia’s cooperation with Latin America in general. "We will shortly receive the president of Argentina," Lavrov added.
"Of course we are waiting for the Latin American teams that have qualified for the World Cup final, and I am sure that the delegations that will accompany these teams will also help us develop contacts in the political, economic and cultural sectors," the senior diplomat said.
"We have established the mechanism of a dialogue and partnership with CELAC. The Quartet of CELAC visited Sochi a year-and-a-half ago, where we approved a major roadmap for the development of partnership," he said.
"We are also engaged in contacts with other, sub-regional, organizations on the continent, including ALBA (the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America), including Mercosur (South American trade bloc), including the Andean Community, the Central American information system within the framework of which we have requested the status of an extra-regional observer," Lavrov said.
"And of course we have well-developed bilateral relations with all without exception countries, more intensive with some and less intensive with others, but a dialogue is maintained with all, and our trade with Latin America has already exceeded $10 billion, if I am not mistaken. Besides, these are first of all high-technology products, as well as military-technical agreements and agreements on space, including ground support for our GLONASS system. This is also nuclear power engineering among others," Lavrov said.
"So on the whole I assume that a lot has been done already, though of course there is no limit to perfection, and we have plans for the future on each of these trajectories," the senior diplomat summed up.