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President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Mr Tsukanov, I suggest we discuss an issue that we have addressed many times in the past, and on which I have given instructions. I am referring to cross-border cooperation and visa-free travel arrangements with certain nations. This is an important topic for the development of economic activity in Kaliningrad Region, and for normal contact and communication between the residents of our region and Poland and Lithuania.
I expect the Foreign Ministry of the Russian Federation and its Polish colleagues to soon agree on a final draft of a document concerning the framework for establishing visa-free travel in new regions for this kind of intercommunication: namely, the entire Kaliningrad Region and provinces in Poland. I count on the Foreign Ministry to complete this work in December.
At the same time, we must continue talks with our Lithuanian partners. I feel that they should be carried out in the same manner as with our Polish partners. We understand that we are talking about obligations not only on the part of individual states, but within the framework of the European Union and corresponding Schengen agreements as well. Nevertheless, I think we must apply the same model everywhere. This will benefit all the residents of Kaliningrad Region. I would like you to continue this work as well, together with the Foreign Ministry. This is the first topic of our conversation.
Our second topic concerns what I just saw. I would like to congratulate you and the residents of Kaliningrad Region on the opening of a new section of road. Indeed, it is a good road; I saw it for myself. I expect that this will help improve transportation and supply lines, and ultimately, loop it into a ring road, 83 kilometres long, finally resolving challenges in Baltiysk and Kaliningrad itself, as well as other populated areas near the road. Progress has been rapid, so I hope this will be completed successfully.
Kaliningrad Region Governor Nikolai Tsukanov: Thank you, Mr President.
First of all, I would like to talk about cross-border cooperation. Indeed, all Kaliningrad residents have been awaiting this decision for a long time. I am very grateful to you, and would like to express gratitude on behalf of all Kaliningrad residents. This matter has been under discussion for a long time; it gets shifted around, but today, we have concrete dates. Following your intervention, when I asked you to get involved in this matter, an agreement was reached for preliminary approval. And the dates have been established, so perhaps it will be signed in December. Thank you very much.
Dmitry Medvedev: But we must prepare for it, because certain organisational issues will come up as well. I hope that you will resolve everything together with the Foreign Ministry.
Nikolai Tsukanov: With border patrol and customs agents, because we may have an enormous flow of tourists.
Dmitry Medvedev: Of course, and you must get other departments involved as well, such as the FSB’s Border Guard Service and the Customs Service.
Nikolai Tsukanov: As far as the ring road is concerned, this is truly a significant event that will certainly provide opportunities for resort cities to develop, so it is not just about building the road, but also an opportunity to develop tourism and recreational zones. We have brought new pieces of land into use, and we will have roads leading to them. They may be used for building health resorts, hotels, and a large children’s holiday camp that you gave instructions on earlier.
Dmitry Medvedev: As far as the children’s camp is concerned, I think it’s a good idea, because here in the Russian Federation, we have several seaside camps: one of them is the well-known Orlyonok camp on the Black Sea, and another is Okean in the Far East. But we need a large children’s recreational facility on the Baltic Sea. I think that in this regard, Kaliningrad is a better fit than any other region. Let’s plan on it.
Nikolai Tsukanov: And the Baltiysk military base. Do I understand correctly that you are ready to support continued construction of road leading to the Baltiysk military base?
Dmitry Medvedev: Yes, I think that soon we will need to link all the key communities, and Baltiysk is, of course, one of the most important of them. So let’s do that; I have already told the Government, Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Zhukov who is also in the region today, to get involved.