March 22, 2013 16:14
Visas main obstacle to broader Russia-EU ties - Medvedev
MOSCOW. March 22 (Interfax) - If visas are not scrapped, strategic partnership between Russia and the European Union will not be possible, said Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.
"We must understand that visas will have to be scrapped in any case if we are to build a strategic partnership," Medvedev said at a press conference on Friday after talks between Russian government and European Commission officials.
"This is our Carthage that must be destroyed, if you want," Medvedev said.
"It is my deep conviction that visas are the main obstacle obstructing broader relations between Russia and the European Union," Medvedev said.
It is visas that slow bilateral relations, not "energy or other issues connected with our legislation, or disputes over trade situations," he said.
"I have no such feeling that we are at fatal standstill, although Russia would like this to move much faster, and visas scrapped by the time the Sochi Olympics begin - in other words, in the near future," Medvedev said.
But he said that Russia understands the European Union's decision-making mechanism. "We understand that not everything depends on the European Commission's position. Each of the 27 members must make the corresponding decision on their own. It is a process," Medvedev said.
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