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MOSCOW, August 27. /TASS/. Speaker of Russia’s Federation Council Valentina Matviyenko has said that a cool-headed decision should be taken in the issue of retaliatory sanctions against US officials.
"As for fanning tensions, in accordance with international law, the country has the right to take adequate steps. But I believe that we should put emotions aside, think everything over and consider our retaliatory actions," she said.
Matviyenko noted that the visa restriction situation "could be perceived as an unfriendly act." "It will not go unnoticed, and we have drawn certain conclusions," she said.
Matviyenko described the sanctions against Russian legislators as persecution and distortion of the principles of parliamentarianism.
"The sanctions against legislators look like a savage act smacking of the Middle Ages. They are persecution of parliamentarianism for political views and distortion of the very essence of parliamentarianism. In the meantime, it is legislators’ mission to build bridges between countries and peoples at all times," Matviyenko told the media on Thursday.
In her opinion restrictions on legislators in expressing their opinion is nothing but "political persecution."
According to the Russian official, the United States had no right to interfere with activities of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU).
"The US has no right at all to interfere with the Inter-Parliamentary Union, restrict its activities or decide who can and who cannot take part in its events," Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko told reporters. "This is a gross violation of international law and its generally accepted rules, and interference with activities of an independent international organization."
Matviyenko accused the United States of "restricting opportunities for parliamentarians of a number of countries to exchange views, to participate in the decision-making process and to make these decisions".
"According to generally accepted rules, a country hosting a certain big international event automatically commits itself to create conditions only for holding the event. But it has no right to interfere in its programme, its participant list and so on," the speaker said.
Matviyenko dismissed as "far-fetched" US’ arguments that the country remained committed to its international obligations to the United Nations but the Inter-Parliamentary Union was not part of the world body. She said: "The World Conference of Speakers of Parliament is held on the UN platform, under the auspices of the UN, and the UN secretary-general will take part in it. Besides, the IPU has observer status at the UN"
The speaker of Russia's upper house of parliament noted that Moscow wanted constructive and equitable cooperation with European Union countries and the United States.
"We have a very extensive and positive agenda with both the EU and the United States. We are constantly talking about establishing constructive cooperation and abandoning the Cold War mentality," Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko told reporters, noting that Russia was still seeking to maintain "constructive, equitable and respectful cooperation".
"We will not allow any restrictive measures against Russian citizens," Matviyenko added.
Matviyenko who heads the upper house of Russia’s parliament 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 the US sanctions list.
The United States issued a visa to 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 to be 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.