Over a million of residents of Hrodna and Brest regions might travel to neighbouring Poland visa free if only Minsk implemented the interstate agreement on local border traffic. According to Belarusian top officials, it is the Polish politicians who are to blame.
“There are no plans to start implementing a Belarusian-Polish interstate agreement on local border traffic any time soon because of the rather tough anti-Belarusian stance of the Polish government,” Andrey Savinykh, spokesman for the Belarusian Foreign Ministry, said at the briefing on March 21, 2013.
The Belarusian-Polish local border traffic agreement was signed in February 2010. It was to be put into practice in the spring of 2012 but in vain: the document did not get through domestic procedures in Minsk. As for Poland, it ratified the agreement.
According to it, people who reside in 89 Belarusian and 93 Polish settlements within 30 kilometers of the shared border will be allowed to cross the border without a visa if they have a special local border traffic permit, which will allow them to stay within the 30-kilometer border zone on the other side of the border for up to a total of 90 days within a year. The permit is expected to cost 20 euros; children, pensioners and handicapped people would obtain it for free.