Lavrov hopeful of EU soonest decision to start drafting visa-free travel accord
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov hopes for the soonest decision of the European Union to start the elaboration of a visa-free travel agreement with Russia.
"We have presented our report [on the accomplishment of the common steps towards the short-term visa-free travel], and this report is positive. Hopefully, the EU report will be similar. If that happens, the principle of reciprocity will prevail and we will be able to start drafting the visa-free travel agreement," Lavrov said during the Government Hour at the Federation Council on Wednesday.
It was reported on Tuesday that Head of the EU Delegation to Russia, Ambassador Vygaudas Usackas would give a press conference to present the EU's first ever progress report on the implementation of the EU-Russia "Common steps towards visa free short-term travel of Russian and EU citizens".
"The results of the EU's missions are summarized in the report to the presented on 18 December. It will also contain recommendations on further implementation of the Common steps," the EU delegation reported.
"Agreed at the EU-Russia summit in December 2011, Common steps are a "road map" that foresees detailed work towards visa free travel resulting in concrete actions on the four blocks. In the course of 2012 and 2013 a number of expert missions by the EU to Russia and vice versa has taken place," it said.
Russia and the EU agreed to take a number of joint steps towards short-term visa-free travel in the end of 2011. The joint steps focused on four areas, namely security and travel documents, migration and refugees, corruption and police cooperation, external relations and human rights.
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