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Russia, EU Agree To Ease Visa Rules

The new Russian biometric passport, which contains an embedded microchip (file photo) (ITAR-TASS) May 25, 2006 -- Russia and the European Union today signed key accords easing visa rules and the deportation of illegal immigrants.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and the EU's external affairs commissioner, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, signed the documents at a summit in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi attended by Russian President Vladimir Putin and the president of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso.

The agreements are expected to be ratified and come into force within a year.