Issue of Russian official passports causes speculation in EU - Chizhov

The visa issue in the Russia-EU dialogue is not being resolved as fast and as clearly as Russia would like, Russia's permanent envoy to the EU Vladimir Chizhov told reporters before Diplomats' Day, which is marked on Feb. 10.

"Headway has been made on some issues. Some issues are about to be resolved and some are on hold. Some issues are on hold through the fault of the European Commission and some are on hold through the fault of the EU states," Chizhov said.

"For example, let's take a very popular issue such as the visa dialogue," Chizhov said. "The visa dialogue is going on and joint steps are being taken. It's not going as fast and as clearly as we would like it to. We are now exchanging expert missions. There were two missions on each side, two from the EU and two from Russia. Our partners made a big program."

"They visited different cities and regions of the Federation and saw four centers for refugees and internally displaced persons," Chizhov added. "Russian officials came to Europe and they didn't let them in. They said refugees in those centers were very scared of talking to Russian authorities. It's such a shame. Business is not done like that."

Chizhov confirmed that the issue of easing visa procedures further has been on hold for several months now.

"The stumbling block is the issue of official passports, which has caused some political speculation in the EU. Some European parliamentarians even said the holders of these blue passports are the corrupt officials who are responsible for Magnitsky's death. It gets as bad as that," the diplomat said.

Chizhov said he cannot predict if this issue will be resolved by the meeting between Russian government officials and European Commissions scheduled to take place in the second half of March in Moscow. "No qualified majority is now present in the EU in favor of its solution," he said.

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