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Putin urges Biden on visa-free future between Russia, U.S.

From Maxim Tkachenko, CNN
  • NEW: Joe Biden says the visa-free proposal is a good idea, state news agency reports
  • Vladimir Putin wants to see visas between the two countries done away with
  • Analysts say such an arrangement would be protracted and complicated

Moscow (CNN) -- Prime Minister Vladimir Putin proposed Thursday that his country and the United States abolish visas between them. U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, who is visiting Moscow, responded that it was a good idea, according to Russia's state-run news agency.

"If your reaction to my proposal is positive, then your opinion as one of the leaders of the current U.S. administration who is also influential in Congress would be very important to us," Putin was quoted by RIA-Novosti as saying to Biden.

Most analysts have said that the implementation of a visa-free relationship between the United States and Russia would be a complicated and protracted process. Russia and the European Union negotiations for such a relationship have been ongoing since 2002. Top EU officials, while speaking in favor of the measure, have said that full abolishment of visas won't happen in the near future.

"If Russia and the United States agree on visa-free travel before Russia and the European Union make a similar decision, that would be an historic step," Putin told Biden.

"Such a step would shatter old stereotypes between Russia and USA. (By doing that) we would turn an important page referring to our past, and start (our relations) from scratch," Putin said.

Russians presently enjoy visa-free or simplified visa arrangements with more than 90 countries.