Lithuania is against exceptions for Russia's representatives on Europe's blacklist, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius said on Thursday after Russian State Duma Speaker Sergey Naryshkin was not allowed to attend the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe's Parliamentary Assembly in Helsinki, sparking Russia's anger.
© DELFI / Šarūnas Mažeika

The decision was made by hosting country Finland, he added.

"Our position is consistent. We believe that contacts must be preserved but in this case we have to be consistent and there should be no exceptions. Those forums are used not for bringing our positions closer but for propaganda purposes. We have expressed our opinion. But the decision was made by the Finns. They had asked for those opinions and know them and made the decision which, I think, is right, but we cannot influence that decision and we did not attempt to do so," Linkevičius told journalists in Vilnius on Thursday. "They (the Finns) could have made the decision without consulting but they did consult, and one cannot say that somebody blocked something as nobody can forbid the Finns to make the decision."

Lithuanian MP Vilija Aleknaitė Abramikienė, a vice-president of the OSCE PA and the deputy head of Lithuania's delegation to the PA, confirmed when speaking with BNS that she had received the PA president's letter notifying of the decision not to make any exceptions and not to issue an EU visa for Russia's representatives on the EU blacklist.

She added, however, that the Lithuanian Seimas' delegation did no express its separate opinion on the issue and that consultations probably took place on the government level.

"Finland made the decision. The letter said that after consulting other EU member states, it decided not to make any exceptions to the EU visa ban as it would have to make an exception to allow those people on the list in, and Finland decided not to make any exceptions. Since Mr. Naryshkin is also on the lit, Russia was furious. But it was Finland's decision," she told BNS.

Nikolay Kovalev of the Russian parliamentary delegation to the OSCE PA told the local media that Finland's Ministry of Foreign Affairs refused to allow Russian lawmakers in after taking into account the opinion of only four countries, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Romania.

It was reported that the Russian delegation would have been led by Naryshkin and the whole Russian delegation decided to boycott the PA after he was not issued a visa.

The 24th OSCE PA will take place in Helsinki on July 5-9.

BNS
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