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Lavrov meets Ashton to discuss Russia-EU visa regime

20. November 2011. | 07:08

Source: Voice of Russia

Russia and the EU have agreed on a ‘road map’ plan for visa-free travel, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said following the talks with the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton.

Russia and the EU have agreed on a ‘road map’ plan for visa-free travel, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said following the talks with the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton. “This is a finalized document prepared by the negotiators. We hope that it will be approved at the summit in Brussels”, Mr. Lavrov added.

First the idea of imposing a visa-free regime between Russia and the EU came to light several years ago. During his recent meeting with German President Christian Wulff, Dmitry Medvedev stressed that visas should be abolished as an outdated practice impeding productive relations.

As of today, the sides seem to have approached a mutually beneficial solution to the issue. And judging from Mr. Lavrov`s statement, a final step is due to be made during the Russia-EU summit in Brussels next month:

"I’d like to stress that we have achieved an agreement on the list of joint measures that must be undertaken to abolish visas between Russia and the EU. We also agreed to do our best to get this document approved during the December summit. We are grateful to our colleagues for their active support of Russia’s WTO membership bid. Our country’s entry to this organization marks a turning point in our trade and investment cooperation and offers the opportunity to speed up paperwork for a new strategic partnership agreement between Russia and the EU and finalize it in the near future," Mr. Lavrov said.

“I am eager to see Russia in the WTO, - Catherine Ashton said. - As the EU Commissioner for Trade, I personally took part in the negotiations on Russia’s WTO membership bid. All the sides involved will benefit from Russia being included in the organization for it opens new horizons for a deeper economic cooperation”.

The talks between Mr. Lavrov and Baroness Ashton also focused on Iran and Syria. The Russian minister said he expected a resolution approved by the six international mediators on the Iran nuclear issue to be adopted today:

"The resolution, which relies on verified data and contains no doubtful conclusions, urges both Iran and the IAEA to boost joint efforts. The document quotes an invitation made by Iran to the IAEA delegation, and backs the position which was outlined by Catherine Ashton in her letter to the Iranian government. The resolution also welcomes the position of the six mediators which insists on a diplomatic solution to the Iranian nuclear issue," Mr. Lavrov said.

Commenting on Syria, Catherine Ashton said that she expected the situation there to improve within a few days. Mr. Lavrov stressed that all the sides involved in the conflict must heed the call for peace. “We urge the sides to sit down for talks. Together with peaceful demonstrators, whose expectations and demands we understand and support, the protests attract groups of armed people who pursue something else rather than reforms and democracy in Syria”, the Russian Foreign Minister said.


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21. November - 27. November 2011.