Updated at 11:50,16-10-2017

Belarus invites Israel to sign agreement on short-term visa-free travel

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Belarus has invited Israel to sign an agreement on short-term visa-free travel, according to the Belarusian foreign ministrys press office.

A note to this effect was handed to Israeli Ambassador Yosef Shagal by Alyaksandr Astrowski, head of the ministrys Main Consular Directorate, and Ihar Lyashchenya, head of the Department for Africa and the Middle East.

The agreement would apply to visits of up to 30 days.

It was Alyaksandr Lukashenka who said during his annual address to the nation and the National Assembly on April 19 that Belarus and Israel needed a visa-free regime, the press office noted.

The implementation of the agreement would not only make it easier for the Belarusians to visit holy places in Israel but will also make Belarus more accessible to the Israelites, increase people-to-people contacts and help the two countries develop their tourist and business ties, the press office said.

Israel is home to about 120,000 ethnic Belarusians.