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Russia threatens to expand sanctions list for US officials

August 26, 2015, 23:59 UTC+3 MOSCOW
"We will not follow the US path and forbid anybody to enter Russia if they want to participate in the work of international organizations. This is not our way," Igor Morozov said
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MOSCOW, August 26 /TASS/. Russia may expand its sanctions list for US State Department officials to retaliate for the U.S. decision to issue a restricted visa to Russian Federation Council (parliament’s upper house) Speaker Valentina Matviyenko, Igor Morozov, a member of the Federation Council Committee for International Affairs, said on Wednesday.

"We will not follow the US path and forbid anybody to enter Russia if they want to participate in the work of international organizations. This is not our way," Morozov said.

"A normal and adequate reply will be to expand the sanctions list for the US State Department officials who are linked to making a decision on Matviyenko," Morozov stressed.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday that the United States had issued an entry visa to Valentina Matviyenko. However, it contains a number of inadmissible restrictions linked to her sojourn in the United States. That made the Russian delegation’s visit to United States impossible, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

"The visa, which was issued with great delay, contains a number of inadmissible restrictions linked to Matviyenko’s sojourn in the United States. For example, it bans participation in any Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) events," the Russian Foreign Ministry explained.

"These circumstances have made it impossible for Russian lawmakers to visit New York," the ministry clarified.

Matviyenko was supposed to attend the 10th Meeting of Women Speakers of Parliament in New York due to take place on August 29-30; and the 4th World Conference of Women Speakers of Parliament due to be held in New York between August 31 and September 2.

She had received invitations to both events. However, she predicted the United States could deny her a visa because she was on the U.S. sanctions list.

Under an agreement, which the United States has with the United Nations, it is supposed to allow all persons who wish to participate in the U.N. events to enter the country. This rule, however, does not apply to all events, which take place in the territory of the United Nations complex in New York.

The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) is a Geneva-based independent international organization, which has an observer status at the United Nations.

It makes no sense for members of the Russian Federation Council (upper house of parliament) to travel to the United States without Speaker Valentina Matviyenko who was supposed to lead the delegation, Andrey Klimov, the deputy head of the Federation Council Committee for International Affairs, told TASS on Wednesday.

"If Matviyenko does not go, then none of us will go. The trip’s main purpose was to attend a meeting of women speakers of parliament. No one can and will replace Matviyenko," Klimov said.

"The Americans have acted like Jesuits. They have issued a visa, which will not allow Matviyenko to attend the IPU events. This brings the trip’s main purpose to nought. The Americans’ behavior has demonstrated their slapdash attitude to international parliamentary organizations and parliamentarians as such, including women," Klimov stressed.

Formally, the United States picked on the fact that the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) was not a United Nations institution, Klimov explained adding that the IPU was twice as old as the United Nations and united almost all parliamentarians around the globe.

But the United States is not its member, Klimov stressed.

"The IPU headquarters is in Geneva where we have never had any problems," he concluded.

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