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State Duma deputies ready to observe Syrian elections

MOSCOW, May 08. /ITAR-TASS/. Deputies of the State Duma, the lower house of Russia’s parliament, from the Communist Party will be ready to observe presidential elections in Syria, due June 3, a deputy Duma speaker said Thursday.

“Despite turbulent events in Ukraine, we keep rather attentively following the situation in Syria,” Ivan Melnikov, who is also a deputy chairman of the Communist Party’s Central Committee, told Itar-Tass.

He added that Communist Party faction deputies of both the federal and regional levels regularly visit the country.

Speaking about observers from the State Duma, Melnikov said that a month before the elections, it is too early to make and formalize such decisions.

“But Communist Party faction deputies will of course be ready to go,” he said. “In my view, when the time comes to make a decision, deputies from other parliamentary factions will not reject the mission either,” he concluded.

Earlier, Federation Council (upper house) deputy chairman Ilyas Umakhanov said senators will also be sent to monitor the elections.

Fighting between Syrian government troops and militants has left over 100,000 people dead and displaced millions since its start in 2011, according to UN statistics.

The first two rounds of an international peace conference on Syria, dubbed Geneva-2, organized by Russia and the United States and designed to negotiate a solution to the Syrian crisis, brought no particular progress in January and February. The parties to the Syrian conflict agreed to continue their discussions.