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Russia hopes for visa-free regime with EU

11-27-2012 19:45 BJT

MOSCOW, Nov. 27 (Xinhua) -- Moscow expects to mutually lift visa restrictions with the European Union (EU) before the 2014 Winter Olympics,the Foreign Ministry said Tuesday.

"It is important that the EU makes a decision in favor of the visa-free regime in a year or two," Ambassador-at-Large Anvar Azimov told reporters.

A team of EU experts is to arrive in Moscow on Wednesday to monitor Russia's implementation of the roadmap to the introduction of unrestricted travel between Russia and the EU's Schengen countries.

Russian experts are to visit the EU with similar missions from Dec. 10 to 20. A Russia-EU summit is slated for Dec. 21 in Brussels, according to the diplomat.

Azimov denied suggestions that Moscow would lift visas for EU nationals unilaterally. "We are for the equality, visa lifting could only be mutual."

The visa question has long been a thorny issue in Russia-EU relations. President Vladimir Putin said in June that visa obstacles blocked the way of a "true" strategic partnership between the two sides.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso promised the Russia-EU visa-free agreement would be completed soon.

Azimov said 17 EU countries are ready for the visa-free regime while 10 countries block such an agreement.




Editor:James |Source: Xinhua

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