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Russia says likely to boycott OSCE lawmakers' session in Kiev

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A senior Russian lawmaker said Friday that Moscow plans to boycott a session of parliamentarians from a Europe-dominated regional security body, to be held in Kiev in July.
MOSCOW, June 22 (RIA Novosti) - A senior Russian lawmaker said Friday that Moscow plans to boycott a session of parliamentarians from a Europe-dominated regional security body, to be held in Kiev in July.

First Deputy Speaker Lyubov Sliska said the main reason why the Russian delegation refused to participate in the meeting of MPs from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), a 56-member political dialogue forum of northern hemisphere countries, was that the Ukrainian parliament is illegitimate.

"How can a session of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly be held in the country where the president has dissolved parliament? This is nonsense," she said.

Sliska said a preliminary decision to ignore the session had been made by the leaders of both houses of Russia's parliament, and that a final decision would be made on June 26.

She said Russian delegations have continually raised priority issues of the organization at such sessions, in particular security issues, but the forum has insisted on discussing the state of democracy in Russia and other former Soviet republics, thought to be falling behind European standards.

"The last session of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly was an example of continual attacks on Russia," Sliska said.

She said that although the agenda of the summer meeting did not directly concern Russia, issues such as tense Russian-Estonian relations, Washington's plans to deploy elements of its missile shield in Central Europe, Russian-Georgian discord and the status of Kosovo were all likely to be on the table.

"We have voiced our position on these issues and our position is not going to change," Sliska said.

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