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MOSCOW, July 17. /TASS/. The speaker of Russia's parliament Sergey Naryshkin on Friday will meet the president of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s (OSCE) parliamentary assembly to discuss prospects for normalisation of relations between Russia and the OSCE group.
Alexey Pushkov, head of the International Affairs Committee at the Russian parliament's lower chamber, told TASS that the meeting in Moscow was initiated by OSCE Parliamentary Assembly President Ilkka Kanerva. The move follows Finland’s decision to bar some Russian officials, including the speaker of parliament's State Duma lower house Sergey Naryshkin, from attending a meeting of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly on July 5-9 in Helsinki.
"He (Kanerva) comes to discuss the scandalous situation when the Finnish authorities refused to grant entry to Finland to part of the Russian delegation (led by State Duma Speaker Naryshkin)," Pushkov said, suggesting that Kanerva "wouldn’t want this episode to leave a negative imprint on relations between the OSCE PA and Russia".
Pushkov said Kanerva had more than once spoken out in favour of Russia’s participation in all OSCE events, noting that the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly’s president wanted "to take the issue of changing rules for Russian deputies who are on sanctions lists up with the European Union".
This referred also to those parliamentarians who could form part of the country’s delegation to future events of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly in EU countries.
"As far as I understand, besides general normalisation of relations, Kanerva also plans to discuss those possible steps the OSCE PA could take in the European Union to avoid recurrence of such situations," Pushkov said.
He said also he supposed that the Russian side at Friday’s meeting would raise the issue of a resolution on the need to lift sanctions against parliamentarians. "Since we have not attended the OSCE PA session in Helsinki, this draft resolution has not been considered. But this is our strategic initiative. We promote it at different international platforms. We have discussed it already with many European parliamentarians. It enjoys quite strong support," he added.
Finland closed its doors to Naryshkin and five other members of Russia’s PA OSCE delegation on July 1. Officials of Finland’s Foreign Affairs ministry said entry was prohibited to Russian officials banned from travel under current EU sanctions imposed on Russia over events in Ukraine. Following the entry denial, the Russian delegation announced it would not go to Helsinki.
"We consider it impermissible to lower the level of Russian representation at the session of the Parliamentary Assembly, a very important session devoted to the 40th anniversary of adopting the Helsinki Final Act," Naryshkin, who planned to head the Russian delegation, said.