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Russian diplomat calls Baroness Ashton's comments inadmissible

February 03, 2012, 0:11 UTC+3

“It would be appropriate to treat Russian legislation and resolutions of the Central Electoral Commission with more respect,” Lukashevich said

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MOSCOW, February 3 (Itar-Tass) — Comments that the EU High Representative for External and Security Policy, Baroness Catherine Ashton has made recently regarding the internal political situation in Russia break all the boundaries of the admissible, the Russian Foreign Ministry’s official spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said Thursday.

“Biased comments on the internal political situation in Russia that the High Representative for External and Security Policy Catherine Ashton aired at a session of the European parliament February 1 can’t help causing astonishment,” Lukashevich said.

“We believe Baroness Ashton broke the boundaries of the admissible by pretending she had the right to interfere in the internal affairs of a sovereign country and to lecture the Russian authorities on how they should arrange the agenda of change,” he said.

“One can’t but be astonished by Ashton’s attempts to speak on behalf of a part of Russia’s civic society, the maturity of which can be seen precisely in the fact that it doesn’t need the mouthpieces for the public expression of its aspirations,” Lukashevich said.

“Her appeal for revising a decision to deny registration as a presidential candidate to one of the aspirants goes far beyond the limits of political correctness,” he said.

“It would be appropriate /for Baroness Ashton/ to treat Russian legislation and resolutions of the Central Electoral Commission with more respect,” Lukashevich said.

“Nor did we leave unnoticed the conspicuous attempt of Madame High Representative to put a de facto question mark over the free and fair nature of the forthcoming presidential election in Russia,” he said.

“Our EU partners should be well aware of the significance that Russia attaches to the earnesty of its commitment to international obligation in the sphere of democratic elections and the defense of human rights and civic freedoms,” Lukashevich said.

“Unlike a number of our foreign partners, some of them with EU membership, we invited – on time and in the numbers agreed upon -- the observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and some other international agencies to monitor the December 2011 election to the State Duma and the forthcoming presidential election,” he said.

“These and some other assessments made by Baroness Ashton have a tendentious nature and don’t match the spirit of Russia-EU partnership,” Lukashevich said. “Serious problems in the field of human rights exist in member-states of the EU as well and the Russian Foreign Ministry’s report on the situation with the rights of man in a number of foreign countries pinpoints some of them.”

“The Russian government thinks it would make much more sense for the EU leadership to pay attention to resolving problems inside the EU rather than lecturing others on democracy,” he said.

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