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Russia halts participation in OSCE Parliamentary Assembly

Moscow has accused the organization of double standards and Russophobia

Russian lawmakers on Wednesday voted to suspend Moscow’s participation in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE PA), citing its “discriminatory approaches, double standards and total Russophobia.”

Both chambers of Russia’s parliament – the State Duma and Federation Council – voted unanimously during sessions on Wednesday to suspend the country’s participation and stop paying fees to the organization.

Moscow already stopped its payments to the OSCE itself after its delegation was denied access to the organization’s meetings on several occasions.

“We should not pay for something we did not participate in,” the State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin said at the time.

OSCE leaders have ignored Russia’s repeated appeals for an equal dialogue, the lawmakers said in a statement, adding that the body is being used as a “politicized tool to deliberately implement an anti-Russian course, and also to intentionally distort” events in Ukraine.

The lawmakers accused the assembly of “biased, discriminatory approaches, double standards, total Russophobia, unpreparedness for meaningful discussions, including on relevant issues of ensuring equal and indivisible security.”

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Since the start of the Ukraine conflict, Russian MPs have been repeatedly blocked from taking part in a number of the organization’s events.

In November 2022, Poland denied visas to Russian officials scheduled to attend an OSCE meeting in Warsaw. And in June 2022, Russian MPs were barred from traveling to the UK to participate in the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly session in Birmingham.

The latest case was a “demonstrative” refusal by Romanian authorities to issue visas in June to a Russian delegation to attend the annual session of the body in Bucharest.

Russia has been a participant in the OSCE since the Soviet Union signed the Helsinki Accords in 1975. The organization’s monitoring mission in eastern Ukraine began in 2014, but was terminated just prior to the start of the conflict between Moscow and Kiev in February 2022. Russia had previously repeatedly accused the group of ignoring violations by Ukraine.

Having held its first session back in 1992, the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly incorporates 57 member states, and declares as its primary mission the facilitation of “inter-parliamentary dialogue to advance the OSCE’s goals of comprehensive security.”

July 03, 2024 at 08:08PM

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