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Vice-speaker to represent Russia at European conference in Oslo

September 04, 2014, 20:54 UTC+3 MOSCOW

State Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin would not be able to attend the event as he is banned from entering the EU

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Ivan Melnikov

Ivan Melnikov

© ITAR-TASS/Alexandra Mudrats

MOSCOW, September 04. /ITAR-TASS/. Vice-Speaker of the Russian State Duma Ivan Melnikov will replace Speaker Sergei Naryshkin at the European conference of parliamentary speakers in Oslo, Norway, on September 11-12.

Melnikov’s spokesperson Pavel Shcherbakov said Melnikov was going to Norway at Naryshkin’s request.

“The speaker of the lower chamber of (Russian) parliament wanted to attend the conference personally, but the European Union’s policy of sanctions has prevented him from doing that,” Shcherbakov said.

There will be three items on the agenda: fundamental constitutional rights and freedoms - involvement, confidence and public discussion as conditions of democracy; democracy, sovereignty and security in Europe; the majority and the opposition - drawing up the balance of democracy.

Shcherbakov said that Melnikov was planning to deliver reports on all three issues. “However, if the time-limit is short, Melnikov will report only on one topic - democracy, sovereignty and security in Europe. He will use it as an opportunity to reflect Russia’s vital approaches to settling the Ukraine crisis,” Shcherbakov stressed.

The European Union has included Russian State Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin in its list of sanctions imposed against Russian officials over the country’s stance over Ukraine. Naryshkin, however, can visit the EU countries if the head of an international organization extends an invitation to him.

Early in September, Naryshkin paid a two-day visit to Paris to attend a meeting of the Presidential Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) at the invitation of PACE President Anne Brasseur.

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