UK denies visas to Russian OSCE team – senator
The UK has denied visas to Russian lawmakers who were planning to attend the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) in Birmingham, senator Vladimir Dzhabarov has told the media.
Speaking to news agency Ria Novosti, on Wednesday, Dzhabarov – who is the first deputy chair of the Russian Senate’s committee on foreign affairs – explained that since all members of the delegation have been sanctioned by the UK, the politicians had asked the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly’s leadership and Russia’s foreign ministry to help them get British visas.
“Unfortunately, we have received essentially an outrageous response, saying that the UK government cannot issue visas to the Russian delegation, regardless of what they are traveling for,” the senator said.
The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly will convene on July 2 and will be in session until July 6.
Dzhabarov noted that Moscow will not recognize any decisions passed by the sitting in the absence of its delegation.
The senator added that Russia would still like to remain part of the international institution.
“Participation in the work of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly gives us an opportunity to promote our vision and approach,” Dzhabarov explained, pointing out that Moscow does not deem it expedient to “give this up just to please our enemies.”
Dzhabarov, however, acknowledged that the expulsion of Russia from the body could be one of the items on the agenda during the upcoming session in Birmingham.
Commenting on the situation, Speaker of the Russian parliament’s upper chamber, the Federation Council, Valentina Matvienko, argued that “any country hosting events must give the opportunity to participate to all delegation members representing OSCE member states.” She called for the adoption of a resolution at the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly that would prohibit the holding of sessions in countries that do not guarantee the participation of all delegations from all member states.
Matvienko added that efforts to push Russia to the sidelines or expel it from the institution only serve to undermine the credibility of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly.
Having held its first session back in 1992, the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly incorporates 57 member states, and names as its prime objective the facilitation of “inter-parliamentary dialogue to advance the OSCE's goals of comprehensive security.”
On February 24, the day when Russian forces crossed the Ukrainian border, the Assembly issued a statement, condemning Moscow’s actions. The group noted that the offensive “constitutes an armed aggression in clear and gross violation of the most basic norms of international law as well as OSCE principles and commitments.”