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'Excellent ties.' Lieberman, Grishenko
Photo: AFP
Israel, Ukraine sign visa-free travel deal
Foreign Ministers Lieberman, Grishchenko sign mutual agreement despite Shas' staunch objection, claiming move would lead to increase in crime, prostitution

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and his Ukrainian counterpart, Konstantin Grishchenko, on Wednesday signed an agreement that cancels the need to obtain visas when visiting the other country.

 

Ukraine is the second country to sign visa cancellation agreement with Israel , Russia being the first.

 

The agreement was signed despite Interior Minister Eli Yishai and Shas' decisive objection, claiming that cancelling the need for an entrance visa would raise the number of immigrants coming from the Ukraine, and increase the crime and prostitution rates.

 

However, according to data presented by the Public Security Ministry in April, only two of the prostitutes arrested in Israel this year hailed from the Ukraine.

 

Upon signing the agreement, Lieberman said the step was made possible by close and productive cooperation, which represents the excellent and stable relations between the two countries.

 

Lieberman added that despite the internal disputes over the issue, "The good results of the visa agreement with Russia, which doubled the number of tourists coming from Russia to Israel, and the good relations with Ukraine, made this step possible."

 

Grishchenko also lauded the agreement, and emphasized its importance in promoting cooperation between the two states on other matters.

 

In a meeting held earlier on Wednesday along with Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov, the three ministers discussed possible ways to decrease the price of airline tickets and establishing a free trade zone between the two countries.

 

Misezhnikov announced the opening of a tourism ministry branch in Kiev, in order to promote tourism to Israel. The three also discussed regional security matters and the Iranian nuclear program.

 

 

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