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Russian legislators’ meeting with US congressmen over Syria disrupted

September 05, 2013, 18:40 UTC+3 Zamyatina Tamara

MOSCOW, September 5 (Itar-Tass) - Plans for a visit by a delegation of Russian businessmen to Washington for a discussion over Syria with US congressmen have failed, the deputy chairman of the Federation Council’s international affairs committee, Andrei Klimov, told ITAR-TASS in an interview.

On Thursday evening the press secretary of speaker of the House of Representatives of the US Congress, John Boehner, confirmed to the CNN television network Boehner had declined the request for a meeting that was delivered to him through Russian diplomats. No explanations were offered.

In an interview to ITAR-TASS Klimov explained the protocol rules of meetings between the speakers of the Russian Federal Assembly’s houses with foreign partners. “Our speaker invites a counterpart from other countries, and the meeting is held in the building of the upper house of parliament. We, too, do not receive everybody, we sometimes decline proposals for meetings. If the speaker of a house of parliament, in this particular case, the speaker of the House of Representatives of the US Congress John Boehner, refuses to receive a delegation of Russian legislators, according to the established rules he does so not on his own behalf, but on behalf of the house.”

Klimov did not rule out that Russian legislators may have separate meetings and consultations with members of both houses of the US Congress, but that will be an entirely different format.

The senior Russian legislator believes that from the formal point of view any official has the right to decline the offer of a meeting. “But the initiative of both speakers of the Federal Assembly - Valentina Matvienko and Sergei Naryshkin - concerned not an internal problem of the United States, but a world one - that of settling the Syrian crisis, which in case of likely aggression by the United States may grow into full-scale war in the Middle East. But US congressmen have turned a deaf ear to the Russian delegation’s position on that problem. This is alarming, because the United States thereby puts itself in the position of the sole and chief player in the international scene,” Klimov said. “We have made a goodwill gesture towards our American partners, but our gesture has been declined. This is just not polite,” the legislator said.

When he speaks about preparations for a military operation against Syria, Obama argues that he allegedly acts on behalf of the world public in order to prevent the use of chemical weapons, Klimov said. “But neither the world public nor humanity in general have ever empowered Obama to deliver air strikes against a sovereign state,” he added. “Only the UN Security Council has the right to act on behalf of the world public.”

The deputy chairman of the Federation Council’s international affairs committee has recalled that Syria has not declared wars on the United States and that Syrians did not attack the twin towers of the World Trade Centre in New York on September 11, 2001. That terrorist attack was staged by Al Qaeda members, who still enjoy US support.

It is noteworthy that since August 31 the US Department of State has repeatedly said it was impossible to put through a telephone call from Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to the US Secretary of State John Kerry, although a request for such a conversation came from the American side.

“Despite our repeated confirmations the American side each time told us it was impossible to contact the Secretary of State without offering any reasons. The proposals for agreeing specific time remained unanswered,” he said.

At the last minute US Secretary of State John Kerry decided against participating as a member of President Barack Obama’s delegation in the G20 summit that opened in St. Petersburg on Thursday.

“The American authorities are in a trap and now they have no idea of how to get out of it,” Klimov said about the current state of bilateral contacts.