Friday, November 16, 2007

Waiting in Warsaw

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) has claimed that it will not be able to monitor the Russian Parliamentary elections in December 2007 because Russia did not grant visas in time.

Vladimir Churov, Russia's top election official, denied that the visas been refused and said they were waiting in Warsaw at the headquarters of the election monitoring office, the Office of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights.

All 56 OSCE member countries, including Russia, have agreed to invite observers to monitor their elections. The organization then decides whether to send observers based on scheduling and need.

In a meeting before the OSCE's announcement, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stressed the need for discussions on Russian-backed proposals that would place new restrictions on election observer missions.

OSCE observers described Russia's last parliamentary elections in 2003 as a step backward for democracy, saying the state had used the media and other levers to favor the main Kremlin-backed party.

In another sign of its defiance of the West, Russia’s upper house of parliament has voted to suspend participation in a key European arms control treaty.

President Putin had called for Russia's temporary withdrawal from the treaty amid mounting anger in the Kremlin over U.S. plans to build a missile defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic. Putin’s counterproposal called for placing the system in Azerbaijan.

Under the moratorium, Russia will halt inspections and verifications of its military sites by NATO countries and will no longer be obligated to limit the number of conventional weapons deployed west of the Urals.

Russia ratified the updated treaty in 2004, but the U.S. and other NATO members have refused to follow suit, saying Moscow first must fulfill obligations to withdraw forces from Georgia and from Moldova's separatist region of Trans-Dniester.

1 comment:

Pete said...

Clearly Putin's nationalist direction is effecting his approach to treaties. He may think Russia was too accommodating in the past.

More background on OSCE is