20 Sep 2017 12:06

Bundestag representatives to visit Crimea next spring for first time after its reunion with Russia - newspaper

MOSCOW. Sept 20 (Interfax) - A joint delegation of German and Austrian parliamentarians will visit Crimea next spring to attend the Yalta International Economic Forum.

It will be the first visit paid by Bundestag members to the peninsula after its reunion with Russia in 2014, the newspaper Izvestia reported, citing Andrei Nazarov, co-chairman of the all-Russian public organization Delovaya Rossiya and board chairman of the fund of the Yalta International Economic Forum.

"This year, the organizational committee of the Yalta International Economic Forum has received a request from politicians and representatives of the business community of Austria and Germany suggesting that their delegations be given the status of honored guests,' the report said.

Nazarov told the paper the special status of honored guests will make it possible to get a broad quota for participation in the forum.

"Special topical sections devoted to cultural and business issues will be created. We expect the participation by 50 representatives of Germany and Austria at the level of prominent politicians, businessmen and public figures. This will be the first time when Bundestag members will visit the Yalta International Economic Forum," Nazarov said.

A Bundestag member, who asked not to be identified due to the upcoming parliamentary elections in Germany, told the paper he and his colleagues would go to Crimea "despite the sanctions and political pressure."

"This [participation in the Yalta International Economic Forum] is an important sign of reconciliation and cooperation between Russia and the West. My acquaintances, who were there in the past few years, brought back only positive impressions and new decisions for the development of the economy and interregional interaction. Today it is necessary to recognize that Crimea is an integral part of Russia and most Germans are against the Russia sanctions. We need to put an end to the policies of confrontation and replace it with the policies of cooperation," the parliamentarian said.

The final decision on granting the status of honored guests to the delegates from Germany and Austria at the fourth International Economic Forum in Yalta (scheduled to be held on April 19-21) will be made by the Yalta International Economic Forum organizational committee in the next few days," Izvestia said.