Thu, 05 Oct 2023

Senior diplomat Oleg Ozerov also told TASS that Moscow is looking to establish direct flights to the continent to boost tourism

Russia is hoping to secure visa-free agreements with more African countries, Ambassador-at-large Oleg Ozerov has told TASS. The diplomat, who also serves as head of the secretariat of the Russia-Africa Partnership Forum, pointed out that while it is a complicated process, there is a general consensus that travel restrictions should be eased.

Speaking to the news agency on Tuesday, Ozerov said, "We have visa-free agreements with six [African] countries and surely the work is underway with other states." He added that Moscow and African nations agreed to facilitate bilateral contacts during the second Russia-Africa Summit held in St. Petersburg in late July.

The ambassador noted that the process cannot be expected to take place overnight, but incrementally, with talks proceeding at different speeds with different countries.

Currently, Russian citizens do not need visas to visit Tunisia, Morocco, South Africa, Namibia, Eswatini and Botswana.

According to the ambassador, Moscow is also working on establishing direct flights to a number of African countries, with some progress made already.

"We expect that in the coming months our tourists will be able to travel to several countries on the continent directly from Russian cities," Ozerov revealed. He added that there are "a lot of" potential destinations waiting to be explored by holidaymakers, "which are safe, stable, and very interesting in terms of history, culture, nature and people living there."

The diplomat said that along with the better-known Tanzania, Namibia and South Africa, countries like Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mauritius have a lot to offer as well.

In an interview with International Affairs magazine last month, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that African states see Russia as a reliable partner that can contribute to maintaining stability, and want to expand cooperation with Moscow.

He claimed that this attitude was demonstrated by the success of the Russia-Africa summit, which despite "colossal" Western pressure, was attended by dozens of official delegations. Twenty-seven countries were represented by top state officials, Lavrov noted.

According to the event's organizer Roscongress, dozens of agreements emerged from the summit.

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