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Commonwealth visa free regime soon - Ashiru

By The Citizen
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Foreign Affairs Minister, Ambassador Olugbenga Ashiru, says the Commonwealth of Nations is planning to introduce a visa free regime for its member states.

Ashiru stated this in Abuja on Monday at a meeting with the Secretary General of the organisation, Kamalesh Sharma.

As a prelude to accomplishing this, the council of ministers of the organisation is to present a proposal for the exemption of holders of official and diplomatic passports from visa requirements at the next CHOGOM meeting scheduled to hold in Colombo, Siri Lanka.

The minister said, 'We also discussed the issue of free movement to promote people to people contact within the Commonwealth.

'In the past, it used to be that holders of Commonwealth passports could travel within the commonwealth countries easily without having to go and queue for visas. We are now thinking for ways to ensure that we bring back this old tradition of the Commonwealth.

'Already, the council of ministers have recommended for approval at the next CHOGOM meeting in Colombo the exemption of holders of official and diplomatic passports within the Commonwealth from the requirement of a visa if they are travelling within the commonwealth.'

When approved, he said, other categories of professionals and businessmen would be recommended for similar privileges.

Ashiru added that he and the Secretary General discussed areas of mutual interest ranging from the strengthening of democratic institutions to education and job creation.

Sharma said there was the need to promote better trade and investment relationship among member nations.