Europe’s preoccupation with the Crimean Tatars, while disregarding discrimination faced by the Russian-speaking population in the Baltic States testifies to the double standards surrounding its national minority policies, French National Assembly member and co-chairman of the Franco-Russian Dialogue Association, Thierry Mariani, said on Thursday.
"During our visit to Crimea we wanted to examine the issues regarding the Crimean Tatar minority…," he said after meeting with speaker of Russia’s State Duma (lower house of parliament) Sergei Naryshkin. "When we see that Europeans are completely ignoring the situation with minorities in the Baltic countries while paying close attention to the rights of the Crimean Tatar minority, we can see the manifestation of double standards very clearly."
Mariani noted that over the past two years, the Crimean Tatars have been granted significantly new cultural and language rights. "We would like to see similar rights given to the Russian-speaking population, for example, in Latvia," he added.
According to Mariani, the Minsk Agreements are not implemented because of Kiev’s position, and anti-Russian sanctions become pointless in a situation like this.
"It is obvious now that the Minsk Agreements are not likely to be implemented because both sides should do this," Mariani said. "However, it seems to me that the Ukrainian side has neither desire nor capability to observe these agreements now," he added.
"That’s why I told the French parliament that we need to be consistent and either lift sanctions or impose them on both sides," he noted.
A group of French lawmakers led by Thierry Mariani will visit Crimea on July 29-31 where they will meet with local authorities, residents and the Black Sea Fleet Commander, Admiral Alexander Vitko. They will also take part in celebrations marking Russia's Navy Day in the city of Sevastopol.
First published by TASS.
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