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Finland’s denial of entry to Duma speaker short-sighted, says diplomat

July 02, 2015, 8:59 UTC+3 MOSCOW
"In line with international law, the Finnish authorities have definite obligations while hosting events sponsored by international organizations - the OSCE in this case," Konstantin Dolgov said
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Russian Foreign Ministry’s special envoy Konstantin Dolgov

Russian Foreign Ministry’s special envoy Konstantin Dolgov

© TASS/Mikhail Pochuev

MOSCOW, July 2. /TASS/. By denying an entry visa to the Speaker of Russia’s State Duma, Sergei Naryshkin who was going to attend an annual session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the European security organization OSCE, Finland has made an unfriendly step that will not facilitate a fruitful dialogue between Helsinki and Moscow, the Russian Foreign Ministry’s special envoy Konstantin Dolgov told the Rossiya’24 news channel.

"This violation of international law has been motivated by the factors that are not related to the current situation in any way," he said. "Finnish officials refer to certain decisions made in the format of the EU but these decisions don’t apply to the situation in question and references to them are out of place."

"In line with international law, the Finnish authorities have definite obligations while hosting events sponsored by international organizations - the OSCE in this case," Dolgov said.

"The Russian delegation was planning to go Helsinki for an event sponsored by that international agency, not for a bilateral conference and the Finnish authorities have encroached on their obligations in a most immediate and graphic way," he said.

"This is a highly unfriendly step in Finnish-Russian relations, a step that won’t facilitate their fruitful development and that’s obvious," Dolgov said.

"Any shunning of dialogue, including the one among parliaments, is a lame and short-sighted decision," he said. "It’s important to support dialogue and inter-parliamentary ties, all the more so the ties in the format of a pan-European organization, which the OSCE is."

Finnish ambassador in Moscow, Hannu Himanen, was summoned to the Foreign Ministry on Wednesday in the wake of the denial of entry visas to several members of the Russian delegation to the session of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly.

Earlier on the same day, the Finnish Foreign Ministry’s official spokesman Vesa Hakkinen told TASS in Helsinki the authorities had taken their decision on the basis of a non-entry list of Russian officials, which the EU drew up as part of its anti-Russian sanctions.

After that the entire Russian delegation made public its decision to abstain from the session in Helsinki.

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