Barbados??? interest in concluding a Visa Abolition Agreement with Russia, and the appointment of a candidate for the position of Honorary Consul of Barbados in Russia, were major talking points when Ambassador of the Russian Federation, Nikolay Smirnov, recently paid a courtesy call on Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Maxine McClean, at her Culloden Road Office.

The Ambassador, who was in Barbados to attend the events of International Business Week, October 5 to 11, first congratulated the country on the successful hosting of the Latin American Business Conference, held at Hilton Barbados.

Afterwards, he assured Minister McClean that he would be proposing that his country negotiate a bilateral non-visa arrangement with Barbados, since Barbadians require visas to travel to and to study in Russia, while Russian nationals do not need visas to travel to Barbados.

Ambassador Smirnov also advised of the possibility of marketing Barbados in Russia, not only as an attractive site but as a study destination for those individuals who would wish to learn English as a second language

Senator McClean reiterated the usefulness of a Visa Abolition Agreement, particularly for Barbadian athletes and persons attending training courses in Russia. ???We would be happy to be able to make progress on this,??? she said, while pointing out that Barbados had supplied the draft agreement in this respect.

The Foreign Affairs Minister also thanked Ambassador Smirnov for the training opportunities provided to Barbados??? police officers and firemen and acknowledged that efforts were on to look into initiatives that would improve tourism between the two countries.

She added that attention would be paid to the demographics of the persons willing to visit the island and the attractions that would interest them.??

The Minister noted that Barbados had completed the vetting process on an Honorary Consular Representative of Barbados to Russia, and was preparing to submit the name of the Representative to the Cabinet of Barbados for approval.

The two officials also touched on Barbados??? interest in commencing negotiations for a Double Taxation Agreement, as well as Russia???s interest in carrying out marine research in the Caribbean Basin. Barbados and Russia established diplomatic ties on January 29, 1993.

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