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Moscow summons Austrian charge d’affaires over failure to issue visas to Crimean reporters

November 03, 15:46 UTC+3 MOSCOW

The reporters did not get Austrian visas despite the fact that they were registered as members of the discussion dubbed "The Role of Free Media in the Comprehensive Approach to Security"

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© AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin

MOSCOW, November 3. /TASS/. Austrian Charge D’affaires in Russia Stephan Weidinger has been summoned to the Russian Foreign Ministry due to Vienna’s refusal to issue visas to Crimean reporters who were going to take part in a meeting of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) on the freedom of mass media, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said after negotiations with OSCE Secretary General Thomas Greminger.

"I had to express our regret over the position taken by the Austrian side which is chairing the OSCE this year. It refused to issue visas to Crimean media reporters: the director general of the Crimea television and radio company, the director general of the Crimea Inform News Agency and the chairman of the Sevastopol Journalists Union," the minister said. "We invited the Austrian charge d’affaires to the Foreign Ministry yesterday and made a corresponding representation."

The Russian top diplomat specified that the reporters did not get Austrian visas despite the fact that they were registered as members of the discussion dubbed "The Role of Free Media in the Comprehensive Approach to Security."

"We consider it a mistake, because, as a matter of fact, the meeting participants lost the change to see the overall picture, and our Crimean and Sevastopol representatives failed to bring the truth about the real situation on the peninsula home to the global community. The fact that reporters living in the Crimean Region and Sevastopol are subject to discrimination and joint punishment for the choice they made deliberately in 2014 in unacceptable (On March 16, 2014, a national referendum was held in Crimea, after which on March 18, 2014, an agreement on reintegration of the Crimean Region and the federal city of Sevastopol with Russia was signed in Moscow - TASS)," Lavrov stated.

"We hope that all countries that host OSCE events will prevent such actions further on," the Russian top diplomat said.

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