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TEL AVIV (AFP)--Israel and Russia signed an agreement Thursday abolishing mutual visa requirements for citizens of both countries in a move set to boost tourism to the Holy Land.
Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and visiting Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov signed the deal in Tel Aviv. The agreement will take effect 90 days after the two governments approve it.
According to the Israeli tourism ministry, the new policy could almost triple the annual number of Russian tourists who visit Israel and the occupied West Bank from an average of 80,000 to nearly 300,000.
The two ministers also signed an agreement on sharing archive data, with the Russian foreign ministry agreeing to open Soviet archives dating from 1953 to 1967.