Putin pledges to increase visa-free zone for Latin America

Russia is set to broaden the visa-free zone for South and Latin American countries, President Vladimir Putin said.

Russia is set to broaden the visa-free zone for South and Latin American countries, President Vladimir Putin said.

"We believe it is important to expand humanitarian ties, exchanges of students, young people and tourists, and contacts between people. The mutual easing of the visa regime within the zone of our countries will undoubtedly contribute to addressing this task," he said in an interview with Latin American and Russian news agencies.

"The visa-free zone covers practically all South American states and a number of Central American and Caribbean countries, and the number of the zone's member countries will increase," the president said.

"Today, cooperation with Latin American states is one of the key and very promising lines of Russia's foreign policy," he indicated.

"We are grateful to South Americans for the support of our international initiatives, including outer space demilitarization, strengthening international information security, and combating the glorification of Nazism," he said.

"For us it is essential that irrespective of which political power is currently in power in a particular country in the region, there remains a continuity reflecting vital national interests in the development of relations with Russia," the Russian president emphasized.

"We are interested in building fully functional projects, industrial, technological alliances with the participation of the region's countries, in using the potential of the complementary economies to the full extent, in cooperation on such relevant fields as oil and gas, hydro- and nuclear power engineering, airplane and helicopter construction, infrastructure, and recently - biopharmaceuticals and information technologies," he added.

"We will continue to provide Latin Americans with practical assistance in tackling new challenges, including training law enforcement professionals at the regional anti-drug training courses in Managua and Lima. We will expand cooperation during relief efforts following natural disasters," Putin promised.

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