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Russia voluntarily decided against observing US elections — official

November 02, 2016, 17:14 UTC+3 VIENNA

There are no Russian observers in the mission of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights

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VIENNA, November 2. /TASS/. Russia has voluntarily decided against observing the US presidential elections on November 8, Head of Russia’s Central Electoral Commission (CEC) Ella Pamfilova said on Wednesday.

"This has been Russia’s voluntary decision not to observe the US elections," Pamfilova said after a seminar in Vienna held by European security agency OSCE in reply to a question from TASS.

The Russian electoral chief added that Russia had no critical remarks to the work of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR).

"There is no guilt of the ODIHR itself in any case," the CEC head said, speaking about the absence of Russian observers in the ODIHR mission.

"Simply our observers are not taking part in this," Pamfilova said.

"I would like to dismiss, disavow the statement by my CEC colleague Vasily Likkhachyov that the CEC will allegedly conduct some remote monitoring of the US elections," Pamfilova said.

"The CEC won’t do this. The CEC has not made such a decision and is not going to do this," Pamfilova said.

"In the light of what is numerously said amidst the US electoral battles that Russia is somehow trying to influence the elections, perhaps our non-participation is a proof that we don’t want in any way to exert influence so that there are no additional accusations that we’re somehow trying to influence and even through observation," the Russian electoral chief said.

"As we have had no direct invitation from our partners in the US, we have not responded," Pamfilova said, referring to the CEC’s non-participation in the observation of the US presidential elections.

"However, we invited all to our elections. We had most of all observers precisely from the United States as part of the OSCE mission - 63 people followed by German observers - 60. So, we were open," Pamfilova said.

The seminar in the OSCE headquarters focused on an overview of the OSCE’s international obligations and other standards for holding democratic elections, and also on developing assessments and working out recommendations on the results of electoral campaigns.

The Russian electoral chief delivered a report on the OSCE’s commitments, international commitments and other standards of democratic elections for all.

Russian diplomats in the US have recently announced their intention to monitor the election, but in response, the US State Department sent a note to the Russian Embassy in Washington, saying to address the OSCE ODIHR mission for that purpose. The Russian Central Election Commission believes the format of a Russian national delegation could be more effective in observing the election.

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