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Russia’s ambassador to Israel said visa-free travel between the two countries could begin at the end of the summer.

Pyotr Stegny told participants at a Tel Aviv business forum that the new system would help develop business and increase tourism, the state news agency RIA-Novosti reported.

The initial agreement signed March 20 will take effect 90 days after both sides have ratified procedures. The agreement is awaiting approval by Israel’s parliament.

Israeli media have reported that Israel might unilaterally waive visas without a three-month waiting period after the system is approved.

More than 100,000 Russians visited Israel last year, second in Russian tourist destinations only to the United States and France. The Israeli ambassador to Russia, Anna Azari, said last month that she expected the system to gain approval and start by the fall.

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