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    RUSSIA DOES NOT EXCLUDE INTRODUCTION OF BIOMETRICS SCANNING PROCEDURES WHILE ISSUING VISAS TO ITS AMERICAN PARTNERS

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    MOSCOW, February 6 (RIA Novosti) - On Friday in reply to questions of Russian mass media, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Aleksei Fedotov stated that while fully understanding the necessity of struggle against terrorist threats and illegal immigration Russia was seriously concerned with approaches of American authorities towards consideration of visa applications filed by Russian citizens.

    He said: "New requirements resulted in additional complications in the area of visa support of bilateral contacts, first of all in the area of trade, economic, scientific, cultural and sport cooperation. The innovation complicates the procedure of obtaining an American visa." While commenting on the introduction into force of the new American "US visit" program which provided for scanning of three biometric parameters Fedotov stated that Russia was attentively monitoring actions of American authorities regarding application of biometrics in the passport and visa sphere.

    Fedotov stated that Russia was "seriously concerned with the intention of the American side to unilaterally use its technological advantages, without listening to opinions of its anti-terrorist coalition partners." The Russian diplomat stressed that it was especially valid in connection with the fact that a special working group on application of biometrics was operating within the framework of the "Eight". "Within the context of its work prospects of collection of biometric parameters of foreign citizens arriving in Russia seem to be not very remote as Russia already got sample installations developed on the basis of domestically developed technologies." While assessing results of negotiations on issues of visa practice between Russia and the USA, Fedotov pointed out that "no fundamental progress has been achieved in the visa sphere."

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