Photo: Ambassador Vinokurov (left), Minister Brantley (right) and Maria Lobova, owner of the Mill Café and Restaurant
St. Kitts and Nevis, Russian Federation visa waiver agreement expected to strengthen bilateral relationship
Basseterre, St. Kitts – A reception to celebrate the entry into force of the bilateral agreement on the visa waiver requirements for nationals of St. Kitts and Nevis to travel to the Russian Federation was hosted at the Mill Café and Restaurant in Frigate Bay Nov. 21.
This came as a result of the historic signed visa waiver agreement, which took place in New York Sept. 21. The Honourable Mark Brantley, minister of Foreign Affairs, signed the agreement with the Russian Federation’s Foreign Minister His Excellency Serguey Lavrov. The agreement allows citizens of both St. Kitts and Nevis and the Russian Federation to travel for up to 90 days to each other’s countries without the need for a visa.
During the reception that was hosted by the ambassador of the Russian Federation to St. Kitts and Nevis, His Excellency Vladimir Vinokurov, Minister Brantley thanked the Russian Ambassador for ensuring that St. Kitts and Nevis and his country were able to strengthen relations.
Minister Brantley said that the government’s philosophy has always been one to promote greater people to people contact, as well as to expand the federation’s diplomatic footprint. He noted that people need to understand that the world is made up of a lot more countries that are represented by the United Nations (UN), other than the United States of America, United Kingdom and Canada, hence, it is extremely important to develop meaningful relationships with as many countries as possible.
“It behooves us as a small country to develop friendships with those that share our ideals, and friendships with those that we think can advance the interest of the people of St. Kitts and Nevis.,” Brantley said. “In the case of the Russian Federation, I think we have done so quite successfully. So, I feel very proud… at this very historic time in our country when we celebrate our ability to move freely between Russia and St. Kitts and Nevis. What that does, is it really allows our people to engage with each other. We are all about people-to-people contacts because we feel that ultimately it is the best diplomacy.”
Foreign Minister Brantley said that it is St. Kitts and Nevis’ intention to build on the relationship with the Russian Federation. He made a call for more Russians to visit the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis, while at the same time encouraging Kittitians and Nevisians to take the opportunity to learn more about Russia.
Ambassador Vinokurov said that agreements are extremely important as they promote better relations and more exchanges between countries.
“We have actually a good relationship, but geographical distance and the fact that there are no direct airlifts between our countries, of course, hamper the practical interaction and exchanges between our people, and the agreement at least in part alleviates this situation and that is why it is so important,” said the ambassador. “I believe in exchanges as the best means to build friendship between people and between countries, as well as to build mutual understanding.”
Vinokurov said that he is delighted that such an agreement is now in place and hope that it will promote meaningful and productive exchanges between all stakeholders. He echoed his commitment to continue working on other bilateral documents as a way to further strengthen the legal basis of the relationships between the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis and the Russian Federation.