MINSK, May 29. /TASS/. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his Belarusian counterpart Vladimir Makei have signed an agreement on mutual visa recognition for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia and the 2019 European Games in Belarus, a TASS correspondent reported.
Foreign football fans were earlier granted the right to enter Russia without visas provided they have tickets for the World Cup matches and FAN IDs. The new agreement implies that they will have the opportunity to travel to Russia via Belarus.
According to Head of the Citizenship and Migration Department at the Belarusian Foreign Ministry Alexei Begun, the two countries have set up a joint working group to define cooperation mechanisms and a control team to monitor statistics concerning foreign nationals travelling to Russia via Belarus.
Moscow and Minsk planned to make a permanent visa recognition agreement ahead of the World Cup but it is still being negotiated.
The Belarusian foreign minister announced that foreign nationals holding FAN IDs would be allowed to travel to Russia via Belarus from June 4 to July 25. He added that "Russia, in turn, will grant visa-free entry to foreign nationals travelling to Minsk to attend the Second European Games."
"Step by step, we are coming closer to resolving issues in this matter [the recognition of visas - TASS]. We have agreed to take practical steps to that end," the Belarusian top diplomat said.
The 2018 FIFA World Cup, the first-ever hosted by Russia, will be held between June 14 and July 15, 2018, in 11 Russian cities - Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kazan, Nizhny Novgorod, Saransk, Kaliningrad, Volgograd, Yekaterinburg, Samara, Sochi and Rostov-on-Don.