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GENEVA, December 10. /TASS/. The EU sanctions on Russia violate human rights, Russia's Permanent Representative to the UN Office in Geneva Alexey Borodavkin said on Thursday at an international conference that focused on ways out of the crisis in Russia-Europe relations.
"The EU directly violates human rights in relation to Russia," the diplomat said. "The sanctions imposed on us are not only illegitimate from the point of view of classical international law, but also violate the rights of Russian citizens to freedom of movement, development, decent work and others."
According to Borodavkin, Russia calls for "an honest, equal dialogue on human rights", and it would be fair if "Europe finally noticed and appreciated the tremendous progress that the new Russia has made in promoting and protecting human rights." Because "it took centuries" to do that in Europe. "We cannot fail to see that the European human rights values literally started falling down as soon as Europe faced the threats of terrorism and mass illegal migration", the head of the Russian diplomatic mission said.
The conference, organized by the University of Geneva in cooperation with Russia’s MGIMO University and the French Institute of International Relations, gathered scientists, politicians and experts. President and Head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of the Swiss Confederation Didier Burkhalter delivered an opening address at the forum.
On Wednesday, a European source close to the European Council told TASS that the issue of extending sanctions against Russia has been put on the agenda for the upcoming meeting of the EU foreign ministers in Brussels on December 14 on Italy’s initiative. "The formal decision about extending restrictive measures against Russia should be made at the EU ambassador session this week but Italy insisted that the issue is included in the agenda for Monday," the source said.
The EU foreign ministers will make a political decision on whether to extend anti-Russian sanctions on Monday. If they do not reach an agreement, the issue will be put on the agenda of the EU summit scheduled for December 17-18 in Brussels. Western media repeatedly wrote that EU leans toward extending sanctions against Russia as restrictive measures expire in January 2016. This position is dominant among EU member countries though France announced its intention to deepen cooperation with Russia in the fight against the Islamic State (IS) terrorist organization after terrorist attacks in Paris on November 13.
For incorporation of Crimea after last year’s coup in Ukraine, Russia came under sanctions on the part of the United States and many European countries. The restrictive measures were soon intensified following Western and Ukrainian claims that Russia supported militias in self-proclaimed republics in Ukraine’s southeast and was involved in destabilization of Ukraine.
As countermeasures, Russia imposed on August 6, 2014 a one-year ban on imports of beef, pork, poultry, fish, cheeses, fruit, vegetables and dairy products from Australia, Canada, the European Union, the United States and Norway. The Russian authorities have repeatedly denied accusations of "annexing" Crimea, because Crimea reunified with Russia voluntarily after a referendum, as well as claims that Moscow could in any way be involved in hostilities in Ukraine’s east.