MOSCOW, October 8 (RIA Novosti)
Moscow believes that the European Union is delaying signing the visa-free agreement with Russia for political reasons, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Monday.
“We are receiving information that the reason is political. There is an opinion that, under the governing principle of solidarity within the EU, it is unacceptable to agree a visa-free regime with Russia before this is granted to Eastern partnership countries,” Lavrov said.
Russia's top diplomat said he intends to raise this issue at his meeting with EU member states' foreign ministers in Luxembourg on October 14.
“I want to discuss this issue with them and hear some assurances that our suspicions are baseless, and I want to see some steps taken that would dispel our doubts not in words but in reality,” Lavrov said.
Last year the Kremlin made visa-free travel between Russia and the EU a foreign policy priority. Russia’s then-President Dmitry Medvedev repeatedly declared the country's readiness to scrap existing visa requirements with the EU.
However, the European Union has been deadlocked over this thorny issue amid concerns that a visa-free arrangement could lead to a rise in crime and illegal immigration.
Add to blog
You may place this material on your blog by copying the link.
Image Galleries: Yury Gagarin: A down-to-earth person
Infographics: The Linguistic Diversity of the Planet
During Vladimir Putin’s annual Q&A session some members of the Valdai International Discussion Club asked him several questions. How united is the West in its desire to punish Russia? Which EU countries are in favour of isolating Russia? Is this even possible? And what is going on in Ukraine?