EXPENSIVE RUSSIAN VISAS FOR BULGARIAN TIR-TRUCK DRIVERS
Procedures for issuing visas to the Bulgarian TIR-truck drivers, travelling to Russia, turned out to be the main stumbling stone of the seventh session of the Standing Bulgarian-Russian Panel of Experts on Transport, held during the week in Sofia. The main reason for that is the disparity between the fees, charged for the issuance of visas in Russia and Bulgaria. Russian TIR-truck drivers pay only USD20 to get the official document for entering our country, while their Bulgarian colleagues pay USD145, of which USD102 for the so-called invitation. The experts failed to reach an agreement and the matter was left to be settled by the bilateral Intergovernmental Committee, which will hold its 8th session in Moscow next week.The results of the meeting in Sofia were entered in a bilateral protocol, signed by the Bulgarian Deputy Minister of Transport and Telecommunications Lyudmil Ivanov and his Russian counterpart Anatoliy Nasonov. Within the two working days it was agreed to develop the direct transport relations between the two countries under the Danube - Black Sea scheme and open new lines between the Bulgarian and Russian sea ports. It was agreed that by mid-2003 a meeting would be held in the Russian town of Azov between representatives of the two countries' maritime and river administrations, to be attended as well by interested shipping companies and forwarders.