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Bulgaria visit cancelled under Western pressure — State Duma speaker

May 14, 2014, 15:51 UTC+3 MOSCOW
State Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin was included in the EU sanctions list of March 23
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State Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin

State Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin

© ITAR-TASS/Mikhail Dzhaparidze

MOSCOW, May 14. /ITAR-TASS/. State Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin says pressure from the United States and the European Union is behind cancellation of his visit to Bulgaria this month.

Naryshkin told Rossiya 24 TV channel on Wednesday that the Balkan state had sent him a tactful letter asking him to postpone the visit until the autumn.

“I can guess what the motivation was. But everything was done politely,” said the leader of the State Duma lower house, noting information about similar pressure on Serbia during his visit to the country on May 5-6.

Russia would maintain its relations with foreign counterparts, he said. “The entire history of sanctions shows they do not yield any results, that nobody benefits and that both sides suffer,” Naryshkin said, describing the penalties as “sheerly absurd” and based on incomprehensible logic.

Bulgaria's Foreign Ministry site published a statement on April 30 amid media flurry over Naryshkin’s visit. It referred to EU restrictions against the official, banning entry and transit through the EU and freezing bank accounts.

“We see an ultimatum statement that does not correspond to our countries’ partnership,” State Duma press secretary Yury Shuvalov said. The statement included “inaccurate information” and spun facts in saying the EU had closed accounts Naryshkin never held.

Bulgaria’s ambassador to Russia, Boyko Kotsev, had agreed in conversation that the statement allowed for false interpretation and did not correspond to negotiations between the two countries’ parliamentary speakers, said Shuvalov.

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