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#5 - JRL 7266
US ambassador in Moscow counters complaints over new visa procedure

Moscow, 24 July: The US authorities do not intend to tighten their visa regime, the US ambassador [in Moscow], Alexander Vershbow told ITAR-TASS today.

"The embassy has changed its procedures for issuing visas, but our policy remains the same. We have an interest in ensuring that as many of the Russians who apply to us as possible can visit the USA," Vershbow stressed. He said that "issuing multi-entry visas has become standard, and we hope that the Russian side will go down the same path".

At the same time, businessmen from the USA are expressing their dissatisfaction with delays in the issue of US entry documents for their Russian partners. At today's meeting of members of the American Chamber of Commerce in Moscow, they noted that almost all the American firms working in Russia were encountering similar problems.

[Passage omitted]

[Russian news agency Interfax, Moscow, in English 0716 gmt 22 Jul 03, reported that Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Aleksandr Yakovenko had expressed regret over the USA's decision "to further complicate its visa procedures". According to the agency, Yakovenko remarked that "the visa issue still remains the most problematic factor in Russian-American consular relations".]

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