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PA OSCE president will ask EU to lift restrictive measures from delegation members

July 17, 2015, 17:59 UTC+3 MOSCOW
According to Ilkka Kanerva, it is necessary to normalize the relations, resolve all problems that emerge between PA OSCE and Russia, to restore contacts
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Russian State Duma member Alexey Pushkov (left) and OSCE Parliamentary Assembly president Ilkka Kanerva (right)

Russian State Duma member Alexey Pushkov (left) and OSCE Parliamentary Assembly president Ilkka Kanerva (right)

© Anna Isakova/Russian State Duma Press Office/TASS

MOSCOW, July 17. /TASS/. President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (PA OSCE) has said that he will appeal to the European Commission to cancel sanctions restrictions against delegation members and allow them to participate in PA OSCE sessions, Russian State Duma’s Committee of International Affairs chairman Alexey Pushkov told journalists on Friday.

"Mr. Kanerva said that he plans to appeal to the European Commission’s leaders and EU members to revise European Union’s restrictive measures so that they do not include OSCE Parliamentary Assembly sessions," Pushkov, who attended Kanerva’s meeting with Russian State Duma Speaker Sergey Naryshkin, said.

It is necessary for PA OSCE to gather in full, Pushkov noted, adding that restrictions should not include delegation members participating in PA OSCE sessions.

Kanerva said that "it is necessary to normalize our relations, resolve all problems that emerge between PA OSCE and Russia, to restore contacts." "We should return to discussing future steps that would allow 57 PA OSCE member countries to sit at the negotiations table again and start working," he added. "For me, it is obvious that we will need your constructive ideas at next stages and your participation in solving problems that Europe is facing," Kanerva said. "I hope that in a few weeks, we will be able to put what happened in Helsinki past us and proceed with further cooperation," he noted.

The situation when members of the Russian delegation are denied visas to attend PA OSCE session because of sanctions will never happen again, Kanerva assured Naryshkin. "Of course, Russia contributes a lot to Assembly’s parliamentary activities. I am 100% sure that in the future, we will be able to prevent such situations from happening," he said. Kanerva noted that he "named concrete steps that will allow to prevent it in the future." "I am rather optimistic and think that this scenario will not be repeated," he added.

Talking about the situation in the region, Kanerva noted that European problems cannot be solved without Russia’s participation. He added that the situation in Europe was very difficult at the moment, with a host of problems facing it. Russia should be involved in negotiations, in the settlement of all issues, the president said, marking a growing importance of a parliamentary dialogue.

Russian delegation denied visas to Finland

On July 1, the Finnish Foreign Ministry said that Russian State Duma Speaker Sergey Naryshkin will be denied entry to Finland to participate in the session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (PA OSCE) in Helsinki on July 5-9. The decision was explained by the fact that the State Duma speaker was included in EU’s "blacklist" of sanctioned officials.

Naryshkin later announced that the Russian delegation as a whole will not participate in the PA OSCE session in Helsinki, where it planned to put forward draft resolutions on impermissibility of sanctions against parliamentarians and countering Nazism rehabilitation. However, the Duma speaker confirmed that Russia plans to participate in the next PA OSCE session in Mongolia’s capital Ulan Bator.

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