Press conference on the procedure for crossing the Abkhaz-Russian state border in the holiday season

Press conference on the procedure for crossing the Abkhaz-Russian state border in the holiday season
10 May 2017 498
On May 10, a press conference was held at the Abkhazian Foreign Ministry on the procedure for crossing the Abkhaz-Russian state border during the holiday season.

The event was attended by: Deputy Foreign Minister of the Republic of Abkhazia Kan Taniya, Deputy Head of the Consular Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Abkhazia Lasha Avidzba, First Deputy Head of the State Customs Committee of Abkhazia Msaust Shamba, Deputy Head of the Abkhazian Border Guard Service Gennady Bazba, Deputy Minister for Resorts and Tourism of Abkhazia Astamyr Akhba, Deputy Head of the State Migration Service of the Republic of Abkhazia Viacheslav Bganba.

Opening the press conference, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Abkhazia Kan Taniya said that on the threshold of the holiday season in the media there are assumptions of individual representatives of the tourism industry of Abkhazia that allegedly during the crossing of the Abkhaz-Russian state border there will be problems related to visa policy as well as insufficient number of checkpoints.

"We tried to bring together representatives of all competent government bodies in order to once again voice their views and dispel fears and rumors that appear on the eve of the holiday season. We decided that such a press conference would be useful for both residents and guests of the republic and would destroy all potential myths about the complexity of crossing the Abkhaz-Russian state border," he said.

Deputy Head of the Consular Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Abkhazia Lasha Avidzba noted: "Previously, a scheme was in effect where a foreign citizen who required a visa to enter the Republic of Abkhazia had to fill out an application and wait for an answer within five working days. Since our country is interested in visiting tourists, we have established a visa issuance point directly at the Psou checkpoint, and it is designed to make it as easy as possible for foreign citizens to cross the state border. The registration of a visa will take two to three minutes. The visa can still be obtained at the head office of the consular department in Sukhum at the 33 Sakharov str.". According to statistics, he added, in addition to Russian citizens, annually from seven to eight thousand foreigners visit Abkhazia".

Deputy Foreign Minister Kan Taniya added that most of the tourist flow is made up of citizens of the Russian Federation who, according to the existing agreement, do not need a visa to enter Abkhazia. "For citizens of Belarus and Kazakhstan there is a special decree of the President of the Republic of Abkhazia, according to which they are exempted from issuing visas, if the period of their stay in the republic does not exceed 14 days. In addition, based on the available statistics to date, no jams and queues at the checkpoint "Psou" are foreseen," he stressed.

First Deputy Head of the State Customs Committee of Abkhazia, Msaust Shamba, said: "We are generally dependent on the capacity of the Adler MCC, the design capacity of which is 28 thousand people, and on the peak days of August the figure reaches 45, and sometimes 48 thousand people. In the morning hours, each point of passport control serves 40 people per minute; the same situation is for road transport. For the Abkhaz side, this is not a new business, so we are constantly making some innovations for more efficient registration of goods and cargos," he said.

The functions of processing a working visa in accordance with the new legislation were transferred to the Migration Service of the Republic of Abkhazia. Deputy Head of the State Migration Service of the Republic of Abkhazia, Viacheslav Bganba, spoke in detail about the procedure for issuing a work visa.

"In order to obtain a work visa, it is necessary to find an employer who in turn applies for the attraction of foreign labor, redeems the permit for attraction, then pays the duty and the cost of the visa and only after that a work visa is issued. The Migration Service can not issue a visa without the employer's request. In the event that a foreign citizen works with a tourist visa, he is brought to administrative responsibility," he said.

Deputy Minister for Resorts and Tourism of Abkhazia Astamyr Akhba, underlined: "The Ministry of Resorts and Tourism of the Republic of Abkhazia for the first time achieved the introduction of duty-free entry for all foreign citizens who enter the territory of Abkhazia as part of an organized tourist group for a period not exceeding a day. The cost of a tourist visa for 1 month is 350 rubles, up to 6 months - 700 rubles, a tourist group visa for a month - 350 rubles."

Gennady Bazba, Deputy Head of the Abkhazian Border Guard Service for Abkhazia, said: "We do not have the capacity to exercise the same control as on the Russian side, but we are striving for this. Sometimes they complain that the Abkhaz side unreasonably holds vehicles, it all depends on what is happening on the Russian side, if there is a certain traffic jam we delay the transport under a canopy so that there is no crowd at the bridge. We also strengthened our outfits to ensure greater security at the border," he said.

According to participants of the press conference, a large flow of tourists to the Republic of Abkhazia is expected in 2017.

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