PUTIN SAYS EUROPE, OSCE CANNOT DICTATE TERMS TO RUSSIA
Posted by Kris Roman on February 17, 2008
Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that his country will not allow anyone to dictate terms to it, but that it will honor its international commitments in full.Putin, who is to step down as Russian president after the March 2 presidential elections, was referring to a recent row with the OSCE over monitors for the polls. He is currently holding his last annual news conference as head of state in the Kremlin.
Commenting on last week’s refusal by the OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) to monitor Russia’s upcoming presidential polls, the president said, “We will not allow anyone to dictate any terms to us, but we will honor every commitment… This is the fundamental principle of international law.”
He also accused the monitor, whose abbreviated name in Russian, BDIPCh, he said sounded jarring, of lacking transparent rules, “They send 16 people to one country, and 20 to another, or find it possible not to send any at all to some countries.””Let them teach their own wives to make soup,” he added, utilizing a traditional Russian saying.
Russia’s Central Election Commission initially invited ODIHR observers to arrive in Russia from February 27-28, but agreed after two weeks of negotiations to increase the observer numbers to 75, allowing the bulk of them to arrive on February 20.
However, the ODIHR insisted on sending at least 50 of its observers to Russia on February 15, five days before the date proposed by Moscow, in order to more effectively monitor the election campaign. It also threatened to boycott the election if its conditions were not met.
Putin reminded the journalists present that while Moscow considered a reform of the OSCE necessary it would continue to fulfill its obligations within the framework of the European organization.”We fulfill them entirely, and I want to underline this, so that representatives of both the Russian and European press are aware of this,” said the president.
He went on to say that it was not stipulated in the ODIHR documents exactly how many observers Russia was supposed to invite and for what term. He said however that Russia had invited 100 OSCE observers to the elections and was ready to provide them with all the necessary conditions for their work.