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Crimean residents bound by their choice of Russia — Norwegian envoy

October 11, 17:55 UTC+3 SIMFEROPOL

Norway’s delegation arrived in Crimea on October 6, 2017

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© Vladimir Smirnov/TASS

SIMFEROPOL, October 11. /TASS/. Crimean residents held together in their choice when voting at the March 2014 referendum for reintegration into Russia. Norway’s delegation members who came to Crimea for the first time reached this opinion, the delegation’s head Hendrik Weber said.

Norway’s delegation arrived in Crimea on October 6, 2017. It included 11 people - members of regional parliaments and public and health care officials - who are staying on the peninsula as citizen diplomats to establish contacts and receive objective information on the situation in the region. Two local parliamentary members from two German regions also joined the delegation.

"We have talked to politicians and ordinary people and asked them what they think of Crimea’s reintegration into Russia. We came to conclusion that it was a consistent opinion and decision, and the people are satisfied with the current situation," Weber said.

He noted that he is "pleased with the possibility… of visiting Crimea by Norway’s delegation." "We got the impression from the visit that runs counter to what western media are saying about the events in Crimea," Weber added.

Chairman of the Crimean parliament Vladimir Konstantinov, for his part, noted the importance of citizen diplomacy. "It is important to us that the world could learn the truth about Crimea and the Crimean referendum through citizen diplomacy. Crimeans are confident that the issue of the Crimean referendum will be recognized throughout the world and that it will happen in our lifetime," he said.

In Crimea, the delegation members visited the Artek international children’s center, the city of Sevastopol and some health care centers and talked to the locals. The delegation’s visit will end on October 12.

Foreign delegations to Crimea

According to Deputy Chairman of the Crimean Council of Ministers Georgy Muradov, more than 100 foreign delegations, including outstanding politicians, visited Crimea in the last 18 months. They include parliamentary members from France, Italy and Germany and former Italian and Japanese prime ministers Silvio Berlusconi and Yukio Hatoyama.

Crimea reunited with Russia in March 2014. A total of 96.7% and 95.6% of the Crimea-Sevastopol referendum participants voted for reunification with Russia. More than 80% of people with the voting right took part in the referendum.

On March 18, 2014, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed an agreement on reintegration of Crimea and Sevastopol into Russia. On March 21, the Federal Assembly ratified the document. Kiev refused to recognize Crimea as part of Russia.

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