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EU, Russia split on visa-free travels

01-18-2011 14:31 BJT

Despite Russia's planned acceleration of procedures enabling visa-free travels with the European Union (EU), Brussels remained cool over Moscow's offer of easing visa rules for Europeans, local media reported Monday.

Head of Russia's Federal Migration Service (FMS), Konstantin Romodanovsky, said Monday that Russia has planned to accelerate procedures of signing executive protocols under the readmission agreement with the EU as part of an effort to realize bilateral visa-free regime.

"We are doing all we can as quickly as possible," said Romodanovsky as quoted by the Interfax news agency, adding that those protocols might be signed in 2011.

"We will do this job this year, so the readmission dialogue with the EU will be completed and a line with be drawn under this issue," Romodanovsky said.

The readmission agreement is one requirement for visa-free travel, under which Russian citizens overstaying their visas in the EU and foreign citizens who enter the EU through Russia and overstay their visas, may be sent back to the country of their arrival.

Russia has yet to sign nine executive protocols to the readmission agreement with the EU, the FMS announced.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov earlier expressed hope that significant progress could be made in this regard this year.

However, Brussels has so far been lukewarm over the visa-free regime with Moscow, citing difficulties to reach consensus among all 25 members of the Schengen area.

Moscow Times daily reported Monday that the EU delegation to Russia have poured cold water over Russia's offer to ease visa rules for Europeans.

Editor:Yang Jie |Source: Xinhua

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