OSCE Withdraws from Observation of Russian Elections
The OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) has withdrawn from the monitoring of the upcoming elections to the State Duma lower house of parliament, and its further assessments concerning the September election will hardly deserve attention, Russian Foreign Ministry stated at a briefing on Thursday.
Since the OSCE has withdrawn from the monitoring, "further statements, assessments or commentaries from the Office concerning the voting at this election and the election process in general, will hardly be worth noticing or taken into account," said the diplomat. "I am sure that the ODIHR quota will be readily used by other foreign observers," Russian deputy FM Bikantov added.
The diplomat stressed that Russia’s invitation to foreign partners to take part in monitoring the election had been sent in advance and in full conformity with Russia’s commitments within the framework of the European security agency. Such invitations were also sent to other international organizations and agencies engaged in election monitoring, he stressed.
"The ODIHR is explaining the refusal to send its mission to Russia by the fact that the Office independently determines the parameters of the monitoring" in accordance with its methodology that is not approved by the member states of the organization, de facto ruling out the possibility to coordinate issues with the receiving side, this time with the Russian authorities," he added.
The formal reason for ODIHR’s argument was the decision of the Russian authorities to restrict the number of foreign observers amid the coronavirus pandemic. This measure is forced and is objectively connected with the epidemiological situation in Russia and across the world, he stressed.
The United States also expressed regrets that the restrictions imposed by Russian authorities in light of the coronavirus pandemic won’t make it possible for the OSCE to send observers to the upcoming State Duma (lower house of parliament) elections, State Department Spokesperson Ned Price said in a statement on Thursday./tass
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