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Committees advise Duma to ratify reunification treaty with Crimea

March 19, 2014, 21:32 UTC+3 MOSCOW
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MOSCOW, March 19, /ITAR-TASS/. The State Duma (lower house of parliament) Committee on CIS Affairs, Eurasian Integration and Ties with Compatriots advised the lower house of parliament to ratify the re-unification treaty between Russia and Crimea.

“All members of the committee unanimously supported ratification,” Committee Chairman Leonid Slutsky said on Wednesday, March 19.

“We recommend adopting [the draft law] in the first reading,” Chairman of the State Duma Committee on Constitutional Legislation Vladimir Pligin said.

Under the draft law, which was submitted to the Duma by President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday, Crimea and Sevastopol will have the status of republic and city of federal significance, respectively.

The committee said that the decision to admit Crimea into Russia was based on “the results of the all-Crimea referendum held on March 16, 2014, in which [people] supported re-unification of Crimea with Russia as its constituent member”, the declaration of independence of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, and the treaty between Russia and Crimea on the latter’s admission into the Russian Federation and the formation of new constituent members within it.

Crimea “is deemed admitted into the Russian Federation from the date when the treaty was signed,” the document said.

It states that “the official languages of the Republic of Crimea are Russian, Ukrainian and Crimean Tatar.”

The draft law regulates the territorial borders of Crimea and Sevastopol, citizenship issues and other issues pertaining to the integration of Crimea and Sevastopol into the economic, credit and legal systems of Russia.

The State Duma will convene for an unscheduled session on Thursday, March 20, to ratify the re-unification treaty with Crimea, First Deputy Duma Speaker Ivan Melnikov said.

“There is the judgment of the Constitutional Court [which recognised the treaty as conforming to the Russian Constitution],” Melnikov told ITAR-TASS on Wednesday, March 19. “In this connection, the State Duma today will debate the draft resolution on holding an unscheduled plenary meeting at 16:00 tomorrow, March 20, to discuss the ratification of the treaty and the adoption of a constitutional law on the creation of two new constituent members of the Russian Federation,” the MP said.

Under law, after an interstate treaty has been signed, the president submits it to the Constitutional Court for verification and if the latter finds it flawless, it sends it to the parliament for ratification. The Constitutional Court earlier on Wednesday proclaimed the treaty being in conformity with the Constitution of the country,” Court Chairman Valery Zorkin said.

State Duma speaker Sergei Naryshkin believes that the president may submit the treaty to the lower house of parliament on Wednesday and promised that “State Duma deputies will ensure the speediest adoption of these two historic acts.”

The Federation Council, the upper house of parliament, has already decided to ratify the treaty at its unscheduled session on March 21.

On March 18, at the Kremlin, President Vladimir Putin, Crimean State Council Chairman Vladimir Konstantinov, Crimean Prime Minister Sergei Aksyonov and Sevastopol Mayor Alexei Chaly signed a treaty under which “the Republic of Crimea is deemed to have been admitted to the Russian Federation.” “From the day of the Republic of Crimea’s admission to the Russian Federation, new constituent members - the Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol as a city of federal significance - shall be created in the Russian Federation,” the document said.

The treaty applies upon signature and enters into force from the date of ratification.

Under the treaty, a transitional period will continue until January 1, 2015 to solve all issues pertaining to the integration of the new constituent members into the economic, financial, credit and legal systems of Russia, into its government system, as well as issues concerning military duty and military service in the Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol.

Elections in Crimea and Sevastopol will be held on the second Sunday of September 2015. The State Council of Crimea (parliament), the government of Crimea and the Sevastopol City Council will continue to perform their functions until then.

President Vladimir Putin appointed Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to be rapporteur on the constitutional law on the admission of Crimea and Sevastopol to Russia during debates in the Duma.

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