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    Russia, U.S. may ease visa regime 'in foreseeable future' - lawmaker

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    Russia and the United States may ease or even cancel their bilateral visa regimes in the near future.

    Russia and the United States may ease or even cancel their bilateral visa regimes in the near future, the head of the State Duma's committee on international affairs said on Wednesday.

    Vladimir Putin told U.S. Vice President Joe Biden in early March that Russia and the United States would take an "historic step" by abolishing visas. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said around two weeks later that Moscow is currently trying to persuade the United States to sign an agreement to scrap visas for visits lasting under 90 days.

    "The idea seems fantastic to some, but I'm convinced that it is pragmatic and may be implemented in the foreseeable future, if not the full abolishment then at least eased visa procedures," Konstantin Kosachev told the World Russian Forum annual conference in Washington.

    He said Russia was ready to ease visa restrictions for U.S. citizens on the condition that the concessions are mutual.

    The Russian authorities have long been trying to persuade the European Union to drop visas for Russian citizens, but their attempts have so far yielded no significant results.

    WASHINGTON, March 30 (RIA Novosti)

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