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Moscow backs Europarl group’s initiative to lift sanctions from MPs

August 04, 2015, 18:12 UTC+3

It's time to look into this issue substantively, in defiance of the US stance and the most anti-Russian-minded members of the EU, the chairman of the lower house’s international affairs committee says

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Chairman of Russia's lower house’s international affairs committee Alexey Pushkov

Chairman of Russia's lower house’s international affairs committee Alexey Pushkov

© Anton Novoderezhkin/TASS

MOSCOW, August 4. /TASS/. Moscow is ready to receive a delegation from the European Parliament to discuss substantively their initiative to lift sanctions from parliamentarians, both Russian and European, the chairman of the lower house’s international affairs committee said on Tuesday.

Media reports said earlier that Europarl members from the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats party urged Russia and the European Union to establish a political dialogue and strike parliamentarians off the ‘black list’ imposed over the events in Ukraine.

"Time has come for looking into this issue substantively, in defiance of the stance of the United States and the most anti-Russian minded members of the EU," Alexey Pushkov told reporters, marking Duma’s support for the move.

"Principles of European parliamentarism violated by sanctions must be restored," the head of the Duma committee said. "We, for our part, are ready to receive in Moscow a delegation of European deputies who are ready to support practical effort towards the lifting of sanctions from parliamentarians," he confirmed.

The visit of such a delegation "could also help to restore our almost stalled dialogue with the European Parliament, and to weaken tendencies of the Cold War, that adversaries of European cooperation are trying to impose on Greater Europe," he added.

"We can only welcome an appeal of European parliamentarians. The lifting of sanctions from parliamentarians on both sides has long been ripe — the sanctions imposed by the EU not only impede a dialogue between the parliaments, but also create obstacles for the full-value functioning of European parliamentary platforms...," he said.

Pushkov said Russia had been speaking about a need to lift sanctions from parliamentarians for more than a year. The deputy said a session of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly in Helsinki was expected to consider a draft resolution on that, initiated by State Duma Speaker Sergey Naryshkin.

"Because of the absence of our delegation, the draft was not considered, but the idea itself received support by some deputies from EU countries. We also acquainted the head of the EU mission in Moscow with it," he said.

On May 30, Moscow confirmed extending sanctions against 89 blacklisted persons. The Russian Foreign Ministry said the main criterion for blacklisting them was active support for a state coup in Ukraine in February 2014. The list was approved last year as a symmetrical response to the ‘black lists’ imposed by the European Union.

In 2014, the European Union imposed sanctions against Russia over the events in Ukraine and Crimea’s accession, and since then it has repeatedly expanded or extended them. Among other measures, a ban was imposed on travels to EU countries for some Russian officials. They also saw their assets frozen, and restrictive measures of trade, financial or military nature. All in all, 151 people and 37 legal entities were blacklisted.

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