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HELSINKI, July 4. /TASS/. Finland’s Foreign Minister Timo Soini does not believe Russian-Finnish relations will be harmed as a result of Russia’s absence from the annual session of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly on July 5-9.
"I do not believe that a cooling will follow in relations between Finland and Russia," Soini said in a televised interview Friday evening following Russia’s warning it may take retaliatory restrictive measures towards Finland. "Russia understands, of course, that that decision (to deny entry visas to six members of the Russian delegation) was made after all-round analysis. It is well-known that some delegates are on the sanction list. But we still expect Russian participation."
The head of the Finnish Foreign Ministry’s legal service, Paivi Kaukoranta has told TASS "I cannot mention only one reason we relied on when we denied entry permission."
"We had been trying to find the reasons that would enable us to grant them permission to arrive. Some clauses in the EU sanction rules admit of several interpretations. We had held consultations with the EU member-states on that score to get negative answers," Kaukoranta said.
On Wednesday, Finland said it would deny permission to Russian State Duma speaker Sergey Naryshkin and five other Russian delegates to enter its territory for participation in the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly session on July 5-9. The Finnish Foreign Ministry said the six Russian delegates were on the European Union’s sanction list.
"My colleagues agreed with me it is impermissible to downgrade the level of representation of the Russian delegation at this session, let alone such a very important one, timed for the 40th anniversary of the Helsinki Act," Naryshkin said.