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Grenada to open diplomatic mission in Russia

by: Caribbean Media Corporation - January 6, 2017
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(Photo: CMC)

ST GEORGE’S, Grenada (CMC) — Russia is hinting at further debt relief for Grenada after the island signed an agreement on settlement of its debt to the Russian Federation through the Paris Club in November 2015.

A government statement said that the debt amounting to US$266,000 was signed on November 19, 2015, and that St George’s has been assured “that there may be even further or total relief of the debt owed by Grenada”.

The statement said that the matter had been discussed when Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell welcomed the Russian Ambassador to Grenada, Nikolay Smimov, on Wednesday.

The statement said the debt issue will be followed-up by both accredited missions for clarification and possible final settlement.

The statement quoted Prime Minister Mitchell as outlining the possible benefits that opening a Diplomatic Mission of Grenada in the Russian Federation would bring to Grenada in meeting its developmental objectives through representation.

He said it would also facilitate communication with potential investors wishing to come to Grenada.

The statement quoted the Russian diplomat as indicating that the main purpose of his visit is to discuss bilateral issues, such as scholarships, training opportunities, debt relief, the establishment of a Diplomatic Mission of Grenada in the Russian Federation, and the signing of a new visa waiver agreement in the not too distant future between both countries.

Ambassador Smimov indicated that it is an opportune moment for the Grenada Government to have a permanent diplomatic presence in Russia, noting that it “will enhance the relationship and position Grenada to maximise on a number of opportunities in the areas of education, tourism, health, and energy”.

The diplomat said that Russia has been offering scholarships to Grenada throughout the years and continues to do so every year. For the academic year 2016-2017, nine scholarships were offered to Grenada and others would be made available this year.

“The ambassador highlighted that Grenada and the Russian Federation are now in discussions that are geared toward setting a date for the signing of a new visa waiver between the two countries in the not too distant future. Both countries have agreed on a MoU that would eliminate the need of a visa for holders of all passports — ordinary, official and diplomatic, up to a 90-day stay.”

The statement said Prime Minister Mitchell had welcomed the scholarships and that Grenada, through the Ministry of Education, will enhance the marketing of these scholarships to raise more awareness and accessibility.

“Dr Mitchell expressed his overall pleasure at the potential signing of the Visa Waiver Agreement, which, he said, will help create so many further opportunities and enhance the bilateral relations between the two countries.

“According to the prime minister, some of the critical benefits of the visa waiver will be the enhancement of the tourism industry, and associated activities such as linkages in air travel; hassle-free travel for Grenadian nationals travelling to Russia to participate in short-term courses and training; the facilitation of potential Russian investors travelling to Grenada, which will be an added boost to the CBI (Citizenship by Investment) programme, among other visa-free travel opportunities for Grenadian nationals to the Russian Federation,” the statement added.