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Senior MP Insists Russian-U.S. Visa Regulations May Be Eased Or Abolished

Washington, 30 March: Visa regulations between the USA and the Russian Federation may be eased and even abolished, Head of the State Duma International Committee Konstantin Kosachev believes.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin suggested introducing visa-free travel between the two countries at his meeting with US Vice-President Joseph Biden in early March. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov told journalists later that, as a first step, Moscow insisted on signing an agreement with the USA on visa-free visits for a period of up to 90 days.

"Some regarded the idea as a fantasy but I am convinced that it is pragmatic and may be implemented in the foreseeable future, if not in the context of abolition (of visas) then at least in the context of easing the relevant visa procedures," Kosachev said on Tuesday (29 March), addressing the World Russian Forum annual conference in Washington.

He suggested using the experience gained in the dialogue on the issue with the EU as the algorithm for moving to visa-free travel with the USA.

"We have gained excellent experience on the subject with the EU, which fears uncontrolled migrations from Russia much more than the USA does. This experience is there, it works, and it can be used in Russian-US relations," the head of the committee said confidently.

He stressed that Russia was ready for all actions on the issue of changing visa regulations on conditions of reciprocity. "Russia has never suggested any measures to ease or abolish visa regulations without reciprocity. This applies to the USA too, and has been the subject of discussions with the EU. If these decisions are taken, they will only be taken of the reciprocal basis. This also applies to the prospect of switching to a simplified procedure for issuing visas, and the introduction of multi-entry visas..., as we have in our relations with the EU," Kosachev explained.

"Russia is radically different from the Soviet Union, which put all sorts of obstacles in the way of its citizen's visits abroad, and foreigners' entry into the country," he added.


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