Sunday, July 3, 2016

OSCE admits for consideration anti-Russian draft resolution on Crimea

The Standing Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) has admitted for consideration at the assembly’s session underway in Tbilisi an anti-Russian draft resolution on Crimea, Nikolai Kovalev, a member of the Russian State Duma lower parliament house and head of the Russian delegation, said on Sunday.

"Taking into account the general anti-Russian bent of the committee, the resolution was admitted for consideration at a plenary session, which will be done tomorrow," he said over the phone.

He said the draft was initiated by the Ukrainian delegation as an additional item to the session’s agenda. The draft dwells on "violations of human rights and basic freedoms in Crimea, violations of the rights of Crimean Tatars, and so forth," Kovalev said.

The Russian lawmaker said that he and other members of the Russian delegation "stressed that being absolutely non-objective and biased and anti-Russia, the document is not subject to editing." "We refused from taking part in the discussion of amendments to this document due to its non-objectiveness and biasedness," he said.

According to the Russian lawmakers, the text tells about "tortures" but provides no proof. "In other words, it contains all sorts of propaganda slogans, such as ‘systemic violations of human rights,’ ‘the situation is deteriorating,’ ‘urgent measure are needed to punish Russia,’ etc. Naturally, we don’t subscribe to this point of view," he underscored.

He noted that the Russian side was actively supported by the French delegation members who drew attention to the fact that representatives of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe had recently visited Crimea. "BY the way, the draft resolution has a passage that observers are not allowed to visit Crimea. Nothing of the kind, we said, please, come and see for yourselves. And the French said exactly the same: before adopting this resolution it is necessary to go there, to see the situation, make conclusions and only then pass it," Kovalev said.

In this respect, the Russian lawmaker noted that no concrete agreements on visiting Crimea have been reached with representatives of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly. In the meantime, "many come up to us on the sidelines to say they would like to visit Crimea but would prefer to do that secretly," he said. "We say, ‘Listen, we don’t deal with such things. There are laws, there are borders. Naturally, all these laws are to be observed, so, you are welcome to come [officially].’"

"We impose no restrictions on your contacts. Walk where you want to, meet whomever you want to. But to organize any illegal visits to Crimea… it would run counter to the Russian current laws," Kovalev underscored.

The Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol, a city with a special status on the Crimean Peninsula, where most residents are Russians, refused to recognize the legitimacy of authorities brought to power amid riots during a coup in Ukraine in February 2014.

Crimea and Sevastopol adopted declarations of independence on March 11, 2014. They held a referendum on March 16, 2014, in which 96.77% of Crimeans and 95.6% of Sevastopol voters chose to secede from Ukraine and join the Russian Federation. Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the reunification deals March 18, 2014.

Despite the absolutely convincing results of the referendum, Ukraine has been refusing to recognize Crimea as a part of Russia.



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