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MOSCOW, February 9. /TASS/. Russia intends to continue cooperation with the European Parliament (EP), chairman of State Duma’s International Affairs Committee Alexey Pushkov said.
On Monday, February 9, Pushkov will present Russia’s position on the situation in Ukraine at the session of EP’s Committee on Foreign Affairs in Strasbourg.
Earlier, Pushkov told TASS that Moscow has repeatedly confirmed its readiness to continue dialogue with Brussels, including at the parliamentary level. In January, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) extended its sanctions against the Russian delegation, banning it from exercising its voting rights, participating in standing committees and monitoring of elections as part of PACE delegations. "When leaving the Assembly [PACE], we stated from the start that we will work with the PA OSCE [Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe], maintain contact with the European Parliament, as well as with national parliaments of European countries," Pushkov noted.
Pushkov’s visit to Strasbourg "is in line with the combination of contacts the State Duma intends to maintain even in the crisis circumstances," the MP said. "There is an opinion that these contacts are especially important in the crisis circumstances," he added. No such meetings have been held since March 2014, when a group of Russian delegates came to the European Parliament to discuss the situation in Ukraine, Pushkov said.
The MP pointed out that dialogue has been stepped up amid the crisis. "This is the meeting of Russian President Vladimir Putin with [German Chancellor Angela] Merkel and [French President Francois] Hollande, the participation of the Russian delegation in the Munich Security Conference and [Russian Foreign Minister] Sergey Lavrov’s speech there. Also, several prominent parliamentarians from Germany and France are preparing to visit Moscow, along with representatives of the European Parliament," Pushkov said. "This is not a one-sided dialogue, it’s really a two-way street," he stressed.
"It is important now that this road will not be a mere formality, that this will not be just an exchange of visits. These contacts should grow if not into rapprochement, then into a better understanding of the positions of the sides, and, most importantly, into finding the base for the settlement of the current political crisis," Pushkov said.