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Russia, Latin America push visa-free travel
May 13, 2013, 10:56 am


Russia has already signed visa-free entry agreements with a number of South American nations [AP]

Russia hopes to agree on a visa-free travel regime with all Latin American countries in the next few years, deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Monday.

“We and our partners should complete the work to make the entire region a no-visa zone for our citizens in the next few years,” he told the State Duma, the lower house of the Russian parliament.

Russia has already signed visa-free entry agreements with a number of South American nations, including Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guiana, Peru and Venezuela.

Russia is trying to better ties with the region even as Latin America raises fresh fears of  regional hegemonic intentions of the US.

Earlier this month, Bolivian President Evo Morales accused the US Agency for International Development, or USAID, of “meddling” and called on the organisation to leave the country.

“They might think that they can manipulate us economically and politically here, but that is no longer the case,” said Morales.

In Venezuela, the US government has encouraged a vote recount aligned with the opposition protestors and has refused to recognise the victory of President Nicolás Maduro.

Russia, meanwhile, has also simplified its visa regime with Surinam and Bolivia, where Russian nationals get entry visas upon arrival at the border.

Ryabkov also said on Monday that foreign minister Sergei Lavrov will meet the foreign ministers of Chile, Costa Rica, Cuba and Haiti on May 29 in Moscow.

Lavrov, after attending Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s funeral in March had said Russia is interested in expanding cooperation with Latin American countries, adding that most regional leaders have similar views on addressing global issues.

With inputs from Agencies

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