Government approves travel agreement with Germany

The Russian government has approved and will send for ratification an agreement with the German government on simplifying travel between the two countries.

At the government session, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that the agreement was similar to agreements that the government approved in June with France and Italy.

Mr. Lavrov said that the agreement created more favorable conditions for youth groups, businessmen, scientists, cultural figures, educators, athletes and official delegations to travel.

He also said that the length of time a certain categories of individuals' visas would be valid would be increased from one year to 2-5 years. The agreement also provides for issuing visa with a direct reference from the receiving organization, for example businesses or universities.

"It is important from the point of view of creating a precedent before the European Union adopts a uniform position in negotiations with Russia on the simplification of a visa regime," Mr. Lavrov said, "and the agreements with Germany, France and Italy establish a bar that the European Union cannot sink below."

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