3 Dec 2017 16:45

OSCE observers to be invited to 2018 presidential election immediately after its date announced - Russian Foreign Ministry

MOSCOW. Dec 3 (Interfax) - Russia will invite OSCE observers to monitor the 2018 presidential election immediately after its date is officially set forth, the Director of the Russian Foreign Ministry's European Cooperation Department, Andrei Kelin, told Interfax.

"The problems in the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (OSCE/ODIHR) election monitoring are systemic. This is linked to the fact that in 1990 the OSCE member states have taken up political obligations as to how elections should be held, but did not work out their monitoring procedure and criteria for their evaluation," Kelin said.

"As to Russian presidential election in March 2018, Russia will completely fulfil its obligations for inviting OSCE observers and ensuring their work. Under Russian legislation, this will be done immediately after the election date is officially announced," the Russian high-ranking diplomat said.

"All Russian regions, certainly, including Crimea and Sevastopol will be opened for OSCE observers," he said.

"The OSCE/ODIHR will make a decision on where precisely to dispatch its observers," he said.

"If the Russian parliamentary delegation's powers are fully reinstated in PACE, there will be no grounds for such questions," Kelin said, when asked whether an invitation for the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) observers to the presidential election depends on whether or not the Russian delegation's rights in the Assembly will be reinstated.

"The Russian parliamentary delegation's return to the Assembly is possible, should its powers be fully restored," he said.

"The Russian parliament and the Russian Foreign Ministry are actively doing the relevant work," the diplomat said.

Since 2016 Russia has not filed documents required for its delegation's accreditation in PACE, after Russian parliamentarians were stripped of their voting right at its sessions and the possibility to sit on the assembly's governing bodies due to the country's stance on Crimea and the situation in Ukraine in 2014 and 2015.