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MOSCOW, August 27. /TASS/. The official Washington’s move on visa restrictions for Russian officials cannot be perceived as the decision taken with the consent of Americans who want to be friends with Russians, Russia’s upper house speaker Valentina Matviyenko said in an official statement on Thursday.
"The decision approved by the official US authorities cannot be considered as the one taken on behalf of American citizens, who I am sure want to cooperate and to be friends with Russians, seek peace and confidence in the future," the Federation Council speaker stressed.
The Russian senator said that even during the Cold War the Soviet Union and the United States maintained various ties and communication channels at different levels. Matviyenko visited the US many times under the Young Political Leaders program, whose participants lived in American families, including those of senators.
"We often delivered speeches in various audiences where there was heated dispute. We discussed challenging and sometimes "improper" issues. But we could and we wanted to listen to and hear each other and always remained friends," Matviyenko said.
The upper house speaker said she is still thankful to those Americans she knows "for their benevolence and hospitality and for their goodness." "I still maintain good relations with some former senators," she added.
Matviyenko earlier received an official invitation to take part in the 4th World Conference of Speakers of Parliament from member states of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, which will take place in New York from August 31 to September 2. This event will be preceded by the 10th meeting of women speakers of parliament due to take place on August 29-30. Russia’s Federation Council speaker earlier said she did not rule out that she might be denied a US visa as a person on Washington's sanctions list.
The United States issued a visa for Matviyenko on August 26, but it has a number of restrictions for her stay in the United States, which the speaker of the Russian Federation Council considers as inadmissible. The visa allows her to meet with the UN Secretary General but makes it impossible for the speaker to take part in the conference.