Russia-EU to launch readmission talks, January 23

Russia and the European Union will launch consultations on Russian readmission, January 23, reports Vladimir Chizhov, Russia's Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Russian and Lithuanian experts will gather, next month, to debate prospects for a respective agreement on a bilateral footing, so as to prepare it no later than June 30, added the diplomat.

Russian nationals will travel to the Kaliningrad Region-Russia's Baltic exclave-and back to the Russian mainland-via Lithuania with passports, Russian Ids and other papers valid this year, into July 1, 2003, said the vice-minister.

Trans-Lithuanian railway transits will later require simplified procedures. An understanding signed today is essential in this context as it determines further passenger transit talks.

Today's understanding confirms a previous one for Lithuanian to establish a consular office in Sovietsk near Kaliningrad, extend its available consulate in the regional centre, and start a branch of the Russian consulate in Kaunas.

The understanding enters into force, January 1, to replace a bilatyeral agreement on private travel, of February 24, 1995, which Lithuania denounced, last September.

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