Russia and the United States facilitate a visa regime between the two countries; PM Medvedev is hopeful of a visa free travel regime with the European Union; President Putin declares that Russia will not cut down on defence spending; Syrian delegation arr
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  • According to reports, Russia and the United States have facilitated a visa regime between the two countries. Citizens of both countries will be able to get multiple entry visas now, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on August 14, 2012. Earlier, on August 10, 2012, the two sides exchanged diplomatic notes to the effect that an Agreement on facilitating visa formalities for citizens of Russia and the United States goes into effect as of September 9, 2012. The agreement envisages issuance of multiple entry visas to citizens of both countries for a term of six months since every entry date and valid for a term of 36 months since the date of issuance. Russia will issue business, private, humanitarian and tourist visas on direct invitations of the host side; the United States will issue tourist visas of B1/B2 category. Decisions on visa applications be made as a rule within 15 days since the work on a visa application begins, the Russian Foreign Ministry said. 1

    Meanwhile, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev believes that Russia has good chances to move over to visa-free travel with the European Union in the years to come. 2

    According to reports, President Putin has declared that Russia will not cut down on defence spending and military modernization will be taken up as per the 2020 programme. 3

    Reports noted that Russia has welcomed the appointment of Lakhdar Brahimi as U.N. and Arab League envoy for Syria.4 Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said that Russia is against imposing of a no-fly zone over Syria, on the ground that it is a violation of the country's sovereignty. 5

    In other developments, according to reports, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has concluded an official visit to Belarus. The delegation exchanged views on topical international issues, including issues of regional and European security, expansion of cooperation within the framework of integration structures in the CIS space, especially the Russia-Belarus Union State, the Customs Union, the Common Economic Space, the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO).6 Meanwhile, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has declared the year 2012 as the most fruitful one for developing relations with Russia. This includes developing trade and political relationship and achieving common ground on international issues including over Syria. 7