MOSCOW, April 17 (RIA Novosti) - Russia will not impose its membership on an unwilling Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) if the organization keeps threatening Moscow with sanctions in an effort to exert pressure, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said Friday.
Last month, amid growing tensions over Ukraine, the OECD decided to suspend talks about Russia's accession to the elite club.
"The OECD is generally a good idea and a serious organization. But since they raised the question of sanctions as a means to exert pressure on our country, we won't impose on them. They should make a decision whether they need Russia or not," Medvedev said at a meeting of Russian economic officials.
The Russian Foreign Ministry has expressed disappointment about the OECD decision, but said Russia still intended to join the organization.
"We regret that the OECD decided to suspend the negotiating process with Russia due to the recent events in Ukraine. Our strategic plans to join the organization have not changed," the ministry said in a statement.
Russian Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukayev has confirmed that Russia has continued its contacts at the expert level so that the negotiations could resume at any time.
"Unfortunately, we faced a destructive position of a number of OECD member countries, which tried to introduce a sanctions regime in the sphere of international relations," the minister said.
He also added that Russia kept up work in this direction not for the benefit of the OECD, but because it served the interests of Russian businesses.
"That is why expert work, as well as the preparation of necessary documents will continue and we hope that the situation will take a more favorable turn in the future," Ulyukayev said.
In response to Crimea's reunification with Russia last month, the United States and the European Union announced sanctions against a number of high-ranking Russian officials, as well as against Bank Rossiya. Russia was also repeatedly threatened with economic sanctions and international isolation if tensions over Ukraine continue to escalate.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov condemned the move saying that talking to Russia in the language of sanctions is "inappropriate and counterproductive" and warned his Western partners about the "boomerang effect" that sanctions would have.