Valentina Matviyenko. Source: ITAR-TASS
During a meeting with Russian Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko, participants in the Eurasian Women's Forum representing the U.S. expressed regret over the fact that she did not receive a visa to participate in the work of the session of the Interparliamentary Union in New York.
"I met with my American friends yesterday. The first thing they did was to apologize to me and they said they were very sorry that I did not get a visa to participate in the work of the Interparliamentary Union," Matviyenko told a press conference held at the Eurasian Women's Forum in St. Petersburg on Sept.24.
She said she believes that women participating in the forum will always be against any restrictions on communication.
Matviyenko said that there are many participants from different countries at the forum, despite the Western sanctions imposed on Russia. Specifically, she said there are representatives from 25 countries of Europe, as well as the U.S., Australia, and many other countries.
On Sept.23, Matviyenko met with leaders of American women's organizations, including Joan Kuriansky, a consultant to the U.S. president and former president of the American Association of University Women, and Sarah Harder, professor at the University of Wisconsin and one of the organizers of the Soviet-American Women's Summit.
The Federation Council press service quoted Kuriansky as saying that they are friends of Russia and that they immediately decided they would go as soon as they received the invitation.
The U.S. guests said they had no doubts that there is a need for dialogue and joint work on resolving problems in relations between Russia and the U.S.
"Russia and the U.S. have a positive agenda, on which we need to work. We, women, can and should influence the strengthening of peace and cooperation between our countries," Matviyenko said at the meeting.
She recalled the previous joint meeting, which took place in 1990 at the Soviet-American Women's Summit. "We became friends at that forum. Nothing can replace personal relationships between people," she said.
Matviyenko said it is symbolic that the Eurasian Women's Forum is being held 25 years after the Soviet-American Women's Summit.
Matviyenko pointed out that informal contacts in the sphere of humanitarian issues continue despite the difficult period in Russian-U.S. relations.
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