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24.12.2013

Polish Consul in Hrodna: Belarusian authorities hinder issuing more visas 28

12:33, — Politics

Polish Consul in Hrodna: Belarusian authorities hinder issuing more visas

Poland is ready to issue more Schengen visas for Belarusians, but Minsk forbids increasing the number of consular personnel.

This statement was made by Andrzej Chodkiewicz, Poland's Consul in Hrodna, during a discussion of the ways to improve the economic relations and increase trade with Belarus with participation of businessmen, diplomats and representatives of the Bialystok authorities, Strefa Biznesu writes.

Lech Pilecki, the chair of the Podlaski Business Club, set the tone for the discussion. According to him, crossing these damn borders is a real tragedy. Let our authorities do their best to improve it, he added.

Lech Pilecki said to the Polish consul that Belarusian businessmen preferred to obtain visas in the Lithuanian Embassy rather than in Poland's Embassy. If the border were open, banks of Bialystok would receive from 5 to 8 million dollars every day, he thinks.

Andrzej Chodkiewicz replied nothing would change without more Polish consuls in Belarus. Both the ambassador and I repeat it, but it's Belarus that makes the final decision. We issue about 800 business visas every day. We will increase the number of visas through giving shopping visas. The maximum number of visas we can issue per year is 110,000-120,000, but not more, because we don't have enough people. Other Schengen countries already ask why Poland issues so many visas, the consul said.

Leszek Szerepka, the Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of Poland to Belarus, and Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski already proposed to cancel the visa regime between the countries on a mutual basis.

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