Valentina Matviyenko, speaker of the Federation Council, the upper house of Russia's parliament, believes that Washington's refusal to issue a full-scale visa to allow her to attend Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) meetings in New York was a grave violation of international law.
"The U.S. Department of State provided me with an entry-visa that allowed me only to meet with the UN secretary general, thus obstructing my participation in the speakers' conference and ignoring the IPU president's request to the State Department to issue such a visa," Matviyenko said in a statement, which was circulated by the Federation Council's press service on August 27.
"Such a decision on the part of the U.S. authorities is a grave violation of international rules and their own obligations to the international community. It also calls into question the advisability of holding international events on the territory of the United States and is unacceptable for us," she said.
"I cannot accept such flawed visa terms, and the Russian delegation's participation in the work of the World Conference of Speakers of Parliament is no longer reckoned to be possible," she added.
The responsibility for disrupting the Russian delegation's visit to New York "rests entirely with the United States, which dresses up as champions of democracy and freedom of speech, but has once again blatantly trampled upon these universal human values and principles," Matviyenko said.
Matviyenko also noted that she, as Federation Council speaker and chairperson of the CIS States Inter-Parliamentary Assembly, had been invited by IPU President Saber Chowdhury to take part in the 4th World Conference of Speakers of Parliament, due to be held at the UN Headquarters in New York from August 31 to September 2.
Matviyenko added that the necessity of her attendance at this forum also stemmed from her role as a member of the preparatory committee and deputy chairperson of this conference from the Eurasia group within the IPU.
Matviyenko was expected to meet with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on the sidelines of the forum.
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