ArmInfo.The Czech Republic's introduction of transit visas for Armenian citizens flying to third countries is not related to the Armenian-European negotiations on the start of a visa liberalization dialogue. The newly appointed Ambassador of the Czech Republic to Armenia Bedrich Kopecky stated this at a press conference in Yerevan on November answering a question from ArmInfo correspondent.
According to him, this was a necessary measure on the part of the Czech authorities in connection with the fact that a very large number of Armenian citizens when flying to third countries sought asylum in the Czech Republic. "I do not exclude that this was a kind of conspiracy, because the flow of citizens was very large, and we had to take measures. However, I would not want to associate this factor with the negotiations around the beginning of the dialogue on visa liberalization between Armenia and the EU," said the diplomat.
At the same time, the diplomat assured that the Czech Republic did not block the beginning of the dialogue between Armenia and the European Union. According to him, in the EU countries, including the Czech Republic, they are convinced that Armenia has done a lot to start this dialogue. However, he found it difficult to say which of the EU member states blocked this process.
Kopecky also did not agree with the allegations that EU countries are blocking this process due to the galling experience obtained as a result of liberalization of the visa regime for Ukraine and Georgia. "I am convinced that most EU countries view Armenia exclusively within its borders, without taking into account factors of other states. Armenia must fulfill its obligations. I am convinced that from a legal point of view there should be no links with other states," the diplomat concluded.
The Agreement on the simplification of visa issuance procedures was signed in December 2012, and the Readmission Agreement between Armenia and the European Union - in April 2013. Both agreements entered into force on January 1, 2015. In accordance with the agreement on visa facilitation, a number of categories of citizens of Armenia got the opportunity to visit the Schengen Area by facilitated procedures, in particular, members of official delegations, scientists, students, journalists, sports and cultural figures, close relatives of lawfully residing in EU countries, participants in events organized by the EU structures of the Armenian Diaspora, and so on. The agreement also provided for a reduction in tariffs for an entry visa to the Schengen Area to 35 euros. Along with this, this visa is granted free of charge to a number of categories of citizens, including children and pensioners. In addition, this agreement allows Armenian citizens to visit EU countries on short-term visas for a period of 180 days instead of the previous 90.
For several years, official Yerevan has insisted on the need to move to a new stage and start a dialogue on liberalizing the visa regime, meanwhile, the European side has postponed this process under various pretexts.