MINSK, 11 January (BelTA) – Belarusian Minister of Foreign Affairs Vladimir Makei expects the Belarusian-Russian dispute over the mutual recognition of visas to be resolved in 2018. Vladimir Makei made the relevant statement after the government conference held by the Belarusian head of state on 11 January to discuss ways to relax the country's visa regulations, BelTA has learned.
Vladimir Makei said: “Negotiations with the Russian Federation on the mutual recognition of visas are in progress. The main approaches to this agreement were discussed today. Fundamental points of the document were worked out. Soon we are going to analyze and expand the proposals we've received from our Russian partners. We will present what we believe is a good document, which will be used as the foundation for future work to simplify visa regulations as a whole.”
“The head of state has set clear goals. We will work to get all these steps implemented this year,” added Vladimir Makei.
According to the source, during the government conference the head of state stressed that Belarus' visa policy should not pose problems for other nations, primarily neighbors. Vladimir Makei said: “You must be aware of the fact that the Belarusian-Russian border is virtually open although we've recently had a number of problems relating to how third-country citizens can cross this border. We are now in vigorous negotiations with Russian partners to fix the issue.”
The minister of foreign affairs stressed that all security-related complaints about Belarus have absolutely no ground to stand on. “We don't make problems for our Russian partners from the security point of view. Moreover, over 230 people have been returned to Russia in the last four years as part of the readmission agreement,” said Vladimir Makei. “They entered Belarus from Russia in an attempt to reach the European Union but were stopped, apprehended, and legally returned to the Russian Federation. The Russian Federation has returned only one citizen to us.”
Vladimir Makei also remarked that the Belarusian border, including the western one, is well protected. “It can pose no threat to the Russian Federation. We will continue discussions with our partners about this matter among other things,” said the Belarusian minister of foreign affairs.More about Politics