2 Jul 2015

OSCE Parliamentary Assembly Director of Communications Richard Solash: Russia‘s absence at PA OSCE session may change its agenda

OSCE Parliamentary Assembly Director of Communications Richard Solash has given an interview to Interfax in which he speaks about how the ban for Russian State Duma speaker Sergei Naryshkin to enter Finland for the summer session of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly may impact the session and what this Finland‘s decision may lead to in current conditions.

Question: What is your perception of the Finnish decision not to allow Mr. Sergey Naryshkin to come to Finland for the PA OSCE session? Do you think this decision could be revised? Is there any chance to influence Finland so that it changes the decision?

Answer: First of all about your question on the decision and whether or not it can be revised, I have to direct you to the Foreign Ministry of Finland, because the Foreign Ministry of Finland is the entity that made this decision.
The OSCE and the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly did not make this decision. This is the sovereign decision of Finland. As you know they are a member of the EU and there are EU sanctions against certain individuals. They just happened to be the country that is hosting our annual session this year. This is the decision they had to make, it was not at all the OSCE decision, that was the decision of the OSCE government. Of course since they are hosting our assembly we have to fully respect that decision.
Our President Ilkka Kanerva is Finnish. He has been in close touch with the Foreign Ministry and with other parts of the government of Finland during this process when they were considering what action to take. So he has been consulting them and has been in touch with them. But that is all I have to this question.

Q.: Will the absence of Russian delegation influence the discussion process or the agenda of the session of the PA OSCE?

A.: As you know Russia has submitted several supplementary items for consideration, including Mr. Naryshkin‘s sponsored item about the use of sanctions against parliamentarians. Russia has also sponsored or submitted several amendments to our resolutions that will be debated and discussed at the annual session. Now what we are trying to do is to determine which of those amendments and which of those other items remain valid and which are no longer valid based on the fact that there are Russian signatures on a lot of them and the delegation, as we have heard, will not be coming other than possibly Mr. [Nikolai] Kovalyov. It may affect which items are valid and which items are not valid on our agenda.
Documents and amendments require certain number of signatures from a certain number of countries to be valid for consideration at the assembly, obviously the fact that the Russian delegation, as we heard, will not participate may affect which items will be able to be considered.

Q.: Could we say that the absence of Russian delegation during this session might influence its effectiveness?

A.: I did not the word effectiveness, I would call it "the effectiveness", but it may affect the content of what will be considered by the Assembly because as I said there are Russian signatures on many amendments and documents and all of these things have to meet certain signature requirements be considered. The Russian absence from the annual session may change the items on the agenda.

Q.: Still is there any opportunity to bring Russia to this annual session?

A.: I will say that this [the decision of Finland] was not a ban on all Russians, this is the decision by the Foreign Ministry to abide by the EU sanctions. We certainly hope that the Russians will decide to send an alternate delegation that is not subject to the EU sanctions so that can participate, because Russia is a member of the OSCE and is a valued member of our Assembly as well. But this is the decision that Russians will have to make.