BAKU, June 28, 11:30 /ITAR-TASS/. State Duma Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Alexei Pushkov, who is a member of the Russian delegation to OSCE's Parliamentary Assembly , has suggested taking off the agenda of the 23rd session the draft resolution on Russia’s violation of the Helsinki principles.
The document, which condemns Russia’s actions in Ukraine, was offered by the US Senator Benjamin Cardin.
“We are against this item on the agenda,” the Russian parliamentarian said. “We consider this item provocative and suggest taking it off the agenda.”
The parliamentarian said earlier the Russian delegation was categorically against the resolution, offered by Benjamin Cardin. “He is known as an author of the Magnitsky Law, he is a person who initiates regularly anti-Russian resolutions. I believe it [resolution] may be supported first of all from the US Western allies. We consider it to be absolutely unilateral. For some reason, Kardin decided to accuse Russia of breaching principles and provisions of the Helsinki Act of 1975, though, if he prefers to be consistent, he should at first present a resolution condemning the US and NATO countries for having cut Kosovo off Yugoslavia and for having recognized it. That was the time of the precedent, where the inviolability of borders’ principle was breached in Europe.”
“It is impossible to take seriously a resolution extracted from a historic context,” the Russian parliamentarian said, expressing hope representatives of countries close to Russia and of some European countries would not support the unilateral approach to the issue.
On April 10, the PACE passed a resolution that will keep the Russian delegation silent and excluded it from all PACE governing bodies until the end of the year for the reunification with Crimea. The resolution was passed by a 145-21 vote with 22 abstentions. In reply, the Russian delegation walked out of the session room.
Pushkov stressed that the most extremist attitudes had not prevailed in the PACE. “The proposal to evict Russia from PACE did not prevail in the final run, as only 55 delegates voted for it and this proves the majority of them have retained common sense,” Pushkov said.
However the decision to limit all rights of the Russian delegation, including its participation in the Bureau, the right to vote and participate in monitoring missions is “the crudest possible encroachment on our delegation’s rights”, he said. “We believe this fact alone furnishes us with enough grounds for considering the prospects for further participation in PACE activities,” he said.
“We will not participate in the further work of this session and will reserve the right consider the question of further participation of Russia in the PACE,” Pushkov said.
Chairman of the State Duma Committee on CIS Affairs and Ties with Compatriots Leonid Slutsky, who is the deputy head of the Russian delegation to the PACE, believes that the PACE decisions to restrict the Russian parliamentarians’ powers “look more like those of the Parliamentary Assembly of NATO but not of the Assembly which is called upon to bring together the East the West and build Europe free of dividing lines”.
“This is an unspeakable show of double standards, a pathologically biased approach. The redline, up to which we considered it possible to continue working in the PACE, was crossed by passing an amendment that deprived us of the right to participate in the Assembly’s governing bodies and monitoring missions,” he said.
“We want to be here but we cannot agree with the infringement of the rights and authority of great Russia,” Slutsky stressed.
Pushkov said Russia “is ready to be in the PACE if our colleagues are prepared to conduct a dialogue” but “if our colleagues are prepared only to yell, make noise and condemn, we will not hold on to the PACE and we made this clear”.
The PACE passed a resolution on Ukraine which laid all the blame for the crisis in that country on Russia.
The Russian delegation voiced strong protest against the resolution. “This is an appalling document, which calls white black and black white. It boils down to defaming Russia and its actions in Crimea, while supporting utterly unacceptable fantasies,” Slutsky said.
However, State Duma speaker Sergei Naryshkin said Russia had no intention to quit its membership in the PACE and regarded the Council of Europe and the PACE as “important forums for discussion”.
Naryshkin said Russia would watch the PACE activities closely.
He said Russia was disappointed by the PACE decision to silence its delegation until the end of the year but would continue dialogue with this European organisation and has no intention to secede from it.
Having adopted the sanctions against Russia, the PACE “has isolated itself from dialogue” the speaker said and called it “a cowardly position” indicating that European parliamentarians “are afraid of hearing our arguments”. However, Russia “is ready for dialogue, is seeking it and is not afraid of defending its point of view”, he said.
Naryshkin recalled the principles set out in the PACE Charter: Europe free of dividing lines. “We would like this organisation to do what it is intended do,” he added.