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Speaker says Russian upper house ready for dialogue with US senators

Russia’s Federation Council is ready for dialogue with US Republican senators, says senate speaker Valentina Matviyenko

MOSCOW, June 20. /TASS/. Russia’s Federation Council (upper house of parliament) is ready for dialogue with US Republican senators, senate speaker Valentina Matviyenko told reporters on Wednesday. She added that preparations for US senators’ visit were underway but there was no information on either the delegation members or the visit’s agenda.

"We have been informed that preparations for such a visit are underway but we know nothing about the delegation’s makeup, while the main thing we would like to know is the purpose of their visit," Matviyenko said. "It is too early to say that the visit will definitely take place or what dialogue will be like. However, we certainly welcome it," she added.

The Russian senate speaker pointed out that Moscow was not to blame for the suspended dialogue between Russian and US lawmakers. "We have many times reached the US Congress through committees and the Friendship Group, suggesting that dialogue should be launched so that we can bring our positions closer together and listen to each other. I confirm our intention to build such a dialogue," Matviyenko said.

She commended US Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman’s decision to arrange a trip to Russia for US senators. "As a former ambassador, I believe that he is doing the right thing, using every opportunity and communication channel to improve relations," Matviyenko noted.

According to her, Russian senators would like to know if US lawmakers are really interested in discussing issues and build cooperation.

US senators to visit Russia

The Washington Post said earlier that Huntsman "has been organizing a trip to the country by Republican senators." "A person familiar with Huntsman’s efforts say he’s interested in demonstrating to the Russians firsthand that even the most hardline lawmakers are willing to work toward improving relations with Russia if it shows a good-faith effort," the newspaper added.

Russian Federation Council Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Konstantin Kosachev confirmed on Monday that Republican senators may visit Russia in early July.

US pullout from UN Human Rights Council

Matviyenko has called the US pullout from the United Nations Human Rights Council a dangerous trend of ignoring key international bodies, stressing that there is "no other globe" for Americans.

"There is a dangerous trend of ignoring existing international bodies, offsetting these institutions and undermining current international rules and norms of settlement in any areas. The US loses interest in those bodies, which have no "America First" slogan," Matviyenko told reporters. "Dear Americans, we don’t have any other globe for you," she noted.

The senator said the world is as it is, and called on Washington to establish dialogue with all nations. "Whether you like Venezuela and Cuba nor not, this is our common planet and one globe. Let’s learn how to work with all nations and maintain your positions. There is no place for diktat and one cannot try to keep its lost hegemony, including in this important UN body," Matviyenko said.

The upper house speaker stressed that the trend towards destroying existing international bodies may trigger chaos.