2014-AS-Plenary-Duma-Chair-NaryshkinRussian Duma Chair Sergey Naryshkin addresses the opening plenary of the 23rd OSCE PA Annual Session, 28 June.BAKU, 28 June 2014 – Russian State Duma Chair Sergey Naryshkin and Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada Deputy Chair Ruslan Koshulynskyi addressed the opening plenary of the 23rd OSCE Parliamentary Assembly Annual Session in Baku today, offering contrasting views on the crisis in Ukraine but pledging support for a diplomatic resolution.

Speaking before nearly 300 parliamentarians from more than 50 nations, Naryshkin proposed the creation of “an international contact group on the basis of the OSCE PA” as well as the organization of an international conference, both aimed at facilitating a peaceful end to the crisis in Ukraine.

“[These initiatives] would give the process of getting Ukraine out of a constitutional and humanitarian crisis an effective parliamentary dimension,” Naryshkin said.

The Duma Chair urged parliamentarians to lend their support to the Russian proposal and called on participating States to “tell the complete truth” about the situation in Ukraine.

Naryshkin also expressed opposition to a supplementary resolution that criticizes Russia’s actions in Ukraine that was approved to the agenda  of the Annual Session earlier on 28 June. [For video of the speech, click here.]

The resolution, “Clear, Gross and Uncorrected Violations of Helsinki Principles by the Russian Federation,”  is principally sponsored by U.S. Senator and OSCE parliamentarian Benjamin Cardin and will be debated in the plenary session on 1 July. That session will also feature a general parliamentary debate on the situation in Ukraine.

Ruslan Koshulynskyi, the Deputy Chair of Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada, sharply criticized Russia’s actions in Ukraine and infringements on the civil liberties of residents of Crimea, highlighting the plight of the Tatar community.

The Deputy Chair referred to Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s peace plan as proof of his country’s political will toward achieving a peaceful settlement to the crisis and called on Russia to “take real steps” to support the plan.

Koshulynskyi also thanked the OSCE and the Parliamentary Assembly for efforts to monitor the situation in his country and help foster dialogue. [For video of the speech, click here.]

On 29 June, the Assembly’s three General Committees -- the Committee on Political Affairs and Security; the Committee on Economic Affairs, Science, Technology and Environment; and the Committee on Democracy, Human Rights and Humanitarian Questions -- will begin discussion of resolutions and supplementary items.

At 9:30 GMT, parliamentarians will take part in a special debate on “The Rise of Extremism, Radicalism and Xenophobia: Challenges for the OSCE Region.”

The OSCE PA Annual Session will culminate on 2 July in the adoption by parliamentarians of the Baku Declaration, which will contain policy recommendations for the OSCE and its 57 participating States in the fields of political affairs and security, economics, the environment and human rights.

For the Session’s programme, as well as the text of all draft resolutions, supplementary items and amendments, click here . 

The Session is being live-streamed on the OSCE PA homepage, www.oscepa.org , and recorded video is available at www.youtube.com/user/oscepa/videos.

Follow news from the Session on Twitter using the hashtag #BakuAS.