About 40 percent of visas issued to Russian citizens are multiple visas that remain in effect for more than a year, said French Ambassador to Russia Jean de Gliniasty.
"About 40 percent of short-term visas that we issue are multiple visas that remain valid for more than a year, which is not a bad result," he said in an interview with Interfax.
At first request an applicant gets a three-month visa, at second a 12 month visa and at third - for up to five years, he said.
Asked whether visa-free travel will have been finally agreed by 2014, he said, "I am well aware that Russia wants these talks to be completed as soon as possible. But rather serious issues are involved here: technical aspects, for instance, including the reliability of biometric passports."
"A delegation recently visited Russia to study technical aspects connected with biometric passports. The result was positive. More delegations will visit Russia in the future. When the entire technical workload is done the two countries will be able to switch to visa-free travel and complete the talks," the French ambassador said.
He acknowledged that political aspects are of importance, alongside technical ones in Russia's and France's changeover to visa free travel.
"A political content exists, of course. France agrees that Russia is not a source of migration risks. Paris wants to create a common humanitarian space between the European Union and Russia in addition to the existing economic, legal and security spaces. In other words, we have the political will. It is true that some countries are against, so we need to discuss this further," the French ambassador said.
"I think, though, that if you look at each of the European Union countries separately, their individual positions will not differ from that of France," Jean de Gliniasty said.
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