November 14th, 2007 14:12 EST
Media Question About Alleged Problems with Russian Visas for OSCE ODIHR Observers
Question: According an OSCE ODIHR spokesman, observers from this entity for the upcoming December 2 State Duma elections are having problems with obtaining entry visas. How could you comment on this?
Answer: Unfortunately, it’s not the first time we’re encountering attempts to distortedly present the situation in organizing international observation of elections for the State Duma.
Foreign observers in these elections have to accredit themselves with the agency inviting them (as applied to the ODIHR – with the Central Election Commission of Russia). This is a normal, universally accepted civilized procedure. All necessary explanations with regard to this procedure and the forms to be completed by observers of the required documents (applications and questionnaires) were sent to the ODIHR.
But accreditation requests from ODIHR observers have begun to arrive at the CEC of Russia only very recently. Obviously Bureau officials had not managed to provide observers with the appropriate information and materials in good time.
All this indicates that confusion reigns in the Bureau itself even in such, one would think, simple and obvious matters. But there is no lack of attempts to lump the blame for their own sluggishness on the inviting side, and then also try to give political subtext to this.
We have repeatedly drawn attention to the strange realities of the ODIHR policy. It’s obviously time to correct things in this regard and put its electoral monitoring organization activities on an intelligible normative footing, agreed upon by all the OSCE member states, which would exclude relapses of a selective and speculative approach.
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