Baku, Azerbaijan, August 5
By Ilaha Mammadli - Trend:
Azerbaijani government has completed negotiations with Norway and Switzerland on visa facilitation and readmission agreements.
Deputy Foreign Minister Mahmud Mammadguliyev told Trend at the request of the European Union separate agreements were prepared with these countries as Norway and Switzerland belong to the Schengen zone.
Similar agreements were signed with the EU in Vilnius within the third summit of "Eastern Partnership" which took place in late 2013.
"We do not intend to tighten permanently the timing of signing agreements with Norway and Switzerland. Although this procedure is more long-term with Geneva, as it takes time to translate the agreements into three languages, which are the state languages in this country, namely German, French and Italian," the deputy FM said.
The agreements with the said states and with the EU states will come into force from September 1, 2014.
The visa-free regime with Norway will only apply to holders of diplomatic passports and with Switzerland for the holders of diplomatic and biometric service passports, he said.
"Norway took the path of the European Union, and also did not agree on exemption of visa-regime from the holders of official passports. Further expansion of the list will depend on how we will implement these agreements. If the political decision will be made, we can raise the question of gradual transition into visa-free regime," Mammadguliyev said.
As the deputy FM said, the EU is a transition plan, but the cornerstone goes toward implementation of these agreements.
"Azerbaijan for the first time in its practice signs agreements on visa facilitation and readmission agreements, and therefore it is a serious challenge for us. Anyway, a political decision will be needed for further steps," he said.
In accordance with the agreement, the cost of public duties on bilateral visa has been reduced from 60 to 35 euros.
Edited by CN