Russians eye visa-free travelling in 2014
An agreement on visa-free traveling between Russia and the EU should be signed in 2013 and come into force in 2014, a high-ranking Russian diplomat underlines.
”We are ready to do the main part of the job this year,” Ambassador at Large Anvar Azimov says. As many as twenty Russian ministries and state agencies are now involved in preparing for the historical traveling facilitation deal, he maintains.
He argues that the Russian dialogue with the EU is based on the equality of the parts, unlike the dialogues between the EU and the countries of the Eastern Partnership where the process is ”unilateral”.
Ambassador Azimov says Russia will be ready to start direct negotiations from early 2014. By the end of 2013, the agreement should be signed and then come into force from early 2014, he told journalists.
”The Russia-EU Summit in 2013 can be crowned with this agreement”, Azimov says, Finmarket.ru reports.
The deal could enable Russia to invite fellow Europeans to the 2014 Sochi Olympics without requiring visas.
As previously reported, Russia and the EU in late 2010 agreed to start elaborating a list of common steps and the implementation of those concrete steps will open the way for talks on a EU-Russia Visa Waiver Agreement. At the Russia-EU session in December 2011, the two parts concretized talks.
Read also: EU, Russia ready to present visa roadmap
In an interview with Vesti late 2011, Azimov said that ”all needed measures” will taken by Russia in the course of 2012. ”Then we will see whether Europe really is ready for a true strategic partnership with Russia, he underlined.
Asked by BarentsObserver at the Barents Council meeting in Kiruna in October to comment on the progress in the visa talks, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said: “It is all up to Brussels now.”