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Russian, US lawmakers discuss efforts to revive inter-parliamentary dialogue

August 06, 2018, 14:17 UTC+3 MOSCOW
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MOSCOW, August 6. /TASS/. Members of Russia’s Federation Council (upper house of parliament) Foreign Affairs Committee and visiting US Republican Senator Rand Paul have discussed the possibility of a meeting at the level of the committees of the Federation Council and US Senate by the end of this year, Head of the Foreign Affairs Committee Konstantin Kosachev told reporters on Monday.

"Since Mr. Paul is a member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, we paid special attention to contacts between the relevant committees and agreed on some specific aspects of developing this cooperation," Kosachev said, adding that "of course, Mr. Paul is yet to discuss these ideas with his colleagues after returning to Washington."

"However, the issue at hand is trying, perhaps, to organize a new meeting, this time at the level of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and the Federation Council’s Foreign Affairs Committee during the autumn session, that is, before the end of this year," Kosachev noted.

"Whether it can be organized prior to the November elections to the US Congress or after that election campaign, we will discuss that additionally," he added.

For his part, the US senator invited members of the Federation Council’s Foreign Affairs Committee to visit Washington to develop inter-parliamentary dialogue.

The meeting’s agenda

During the meeting in Russia’s Federation Council, the parties also discussed the possible agenda for these talks. Kosachev noted that the two countries’ parliamentarians could possibly meet several times. "The issue at hand is helping to revive the Russian-American dialogue on strategic stability issues, arms control and disarmament, first and foremost," he stressed.

Besides, the two countries’ lawmakers could discuss ways of "reviving a working dialogue between the relevant ministries and government agencies on combating terrorism and security in cyberspace," along with trade and economic cooperation amid sanctions. "The preliminary agenda is clear, while the schedule of our meetings is yet to be discussed. It can likewise be specified in the immediate future," Kosachev stated.

No Russian meddling

He once again refuted allegations about the so-called Russian meddling in the US elections, both the 2016 presidential election and the current election campaign ahead of the midterm elections to the Congress.

Kosachev recalled that Moscow had suggested discussing this issue at the expert level more than once, but there was no response from Washington. "It is more advantageous for those who keep this version afloat to work in a unilateral manner, in the form of a monologue," he emphasized.

He later told reporters that Rand Paul is pretty close to US President Donald Trump and recalled that Paul was one of the two senators who did not support the law on tougher sanctions against Russia a year ago.

The United States Senate Foreign Relations Committee is chaired by Robert Corker (R-Tenn) who earlier said he would not seek re-election for the next term in November. All 435 seats in the US House of Representatives and one-third of seats in the US Senate will be contested. The newly-elected members of the US Congress will begin working in January 2019. Both houses are currently controlled by Republicans.

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