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7 Feb, 2008 07:09

Russia won’t accept OSCE ultimatum: Sergey Lavrov

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says Moscow cannot accept demands from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation's election watchdog to come to Russia more than two weeks before the Presidential elections in March.

“In accordance with our international duties, we invited international observers, including 70 monitors from the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights. We asked them to arrive several days before the election.

We received quite a sharp response. The OSCE said they wanted their observers to arrive a month ahead of our election – something they do not usually demand from the majority of countries they monitor.

They insisted it will not send its observers to Russia unless Moscow accepts its demands. This is an ultimatum any self-respecting country cannot accept. Their stance shows the need for reforms of the OCSE,” Lavrov said.

Meanwhile, according to a statement posted on the OSCE's internet site, the OSCE's Office for Democratic Institution and Human Rights has refused to send its observers to the Russian presidential election.

The statement says that the election watchdog regrets that restrictions have forced the cancellation.