MOSCOW, July 11. /TASS/. Chairman of Russia’s Federation Council (upper house) Foreign Affairs Committee Konstantin Kosachev has expressed the hope that members of the US congressional delegation that had visited Russia will raise the issue of lifting or suspending sanctions against Russian parliamentarians with the White House and Congress upon returning to the United States.
"In the event of inter-parliamentary dialogue, these sanctions [against lawmakers] should be lifted immediately. We need, at the very least, to negotiate on a reciprocal basis that they [the sanctions] will not be applied to those lawmakers who are involved in inter-parliamentary exchanges," Kosachev said at the committee’s session on Wednesday speaking about the results of the meeting with the US congressional delegation last week.
"We have put forward this proposal to the American side formally on numerous occasions, but, regrettably we have received no positive response on that score. Let’s hope that maybe the current delegation, upon returning to the US, will raise this issue once again in Congress and at the White House," he added.
According to Kosachev, the US delegation included a senator who had been blacklisted by Russia and was allowed to come to Russia as a special gesture. "When he took the floor and began saying that he was very glad to be in Moscow, I ventured to respond by saying that we had invested some efforts into making sure this took place and that I would be glad, if my colleagues and I had an opportunity to meet with him and his colleagues in Washington and in other American cities, since we have been sanctioned," he said.
The US congressional delegation visited Russia from June 30 to July 5. The American legislators visited St. Petersburg and met with Governor Georgy Poltavchenko. On July 3, they held talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and met with officials from Russia’s State Duma (lower house of parliament) and Federation Council (upper house of parliament). On July 7, a meeting with Russian lawmakers initiated by the Americans was held in the Bundestag on the sidelines of the summer session of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly.