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    RUSSIANS WILL HAVE PASSPORTS WITH BIOMETRIC DATA

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    MOSCOW, January 21, 2004 (RIA Novosti) -- The Russian Interior Ministry has started to work out models for new foreign passports containing biometric data of their owners, Russian Deputy Interior Minister Alexander Chekalin told a press conference in Moscow on Wednesday.

    According to him, Russia is following the example of developed European countries, which decided to introduce such documents as part of the effort to combat terrorism and illegal migration.

    The first passports of the new generation will have coded images of the face and fingerprints of their owners.

    The government is to fix the terms of the introduction of new passports.

    Foreign passports fully meeting the present international requirements will appear in Russia in April, the deputy interior minister said. They will contain not only traditional but also coded information in the zone of special machine-reading records in order to facilitate and accelerate the passport check procedure.

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