Russian senators speak at meetings of IPA CIS standing commissions

Russian parliamentarians participated in the work of the commissions on political affairs and international cooperation, on social policy and human rights, on agricultural policy, natural resources and the environment.

Senators of the Russian Federation took an active part in the meetings of the standing commissions of the Interparliamentary Assembly of the CIS Member States (IPA CIS).

Deputy Speaker of the Federation Council Konstantin Kosachev briefed the members of the Standing Commission on Political Affairs and International Cooperation on the priorities of Russia’s tenure as chair of BRICS. These include enhancing foreign policy coordination within the BRICS framework, including at key international platforms.

According to the Deputy Speaker, special attention will be paid to the development of interparliamentary cooperation as part of the 10th BRICS Parliamentary Forum; the effort will also involve the IPA CIS. The conference is scheduled to be held in July 2024 in St Petersburg.

In his remarks, Konstantin Kosachev also discussed steps to coordinate the approaches taken by the parliaments of the IPA CIS member states with regard to the unfriendly resolutions of the European Parliament. According to him, in recent years, the European Parliament has been increasingly active in the CIS. “We note that the European Parliament’s foreign policy strategy systematises these efforts, and that respective region-specific strategies are now being introduced, in particular, for Central Asia and the South Caucasus.”

The Deputy Speaker of the Federation Council pointed out that, instead of establishing friendly interparliamentary cooperation with a positive agenda, the European Parliament is engaging in destructive, extraterritorial and illegal activities. In his opinion, this pursues a very specific goal: to discredit the state and legal institutions in the CIS member states, and to undermine the CIS countries’ standing in the international arena. “All of the above raises questions about whether these actions by the European Union in general and the European Parliament in particular comply with international law, which restricts international organisations’ activities to their respective mandates.”

Chair of the Federation Council Committee on Foreign Affairs Grigory Karasin presented a draft IPA CIS statement on the situation in the Gaza Strip. According to him, this is one of the steps taken to demonstrate that the CIS parliamentarians are in favour of a ceasefire, of ensuring safe and effective access to all victims and people in need, primarily for the UN humanitarian agencies, and the release of all hostages and arbitrarily detained persons. They support the revival of the peace process that should lead to the establishment of an independent and self-sustaining State of Palestine within its 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital, co-existing with Israel in peace and security.

Grigory Karasin explained the concept of Russia’s chairmanship in the CIS in 2024. “We attach great importance to trade and economic cooperation, deepening collaboration in food and energy security, industrial, transport and logistics cooperation, as well as joint efforts in nature conservation, innovation, and digital transformation. Measures to ensure security in all its dimensions undoubtedly have a special place on the CIS agenda,” he said.

First Deputy Chair of the Federation Council Committee on Social Policy Alexander Varfolomeev and member of the Federation Council Committee on Social Policy Natalia Kosykhina attended a meeting of the Standing Commission on Social Policy and Human Rights.

According to Alexander Varfolomeev, the members of the commission discussed current issues concerning parliamentary assemblies’ efforts to fight terrorism and cooperation with international organisations. “We touched upon the activities of the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in the Russian Federation. We considered several model legislative acts. The work to strengthen inter-parliamentary cooperation in these areas will continue,” the senator said.

Natalia Kosykhina added that the discussion also focused on humanitarian cooperation at the international level, not only regional ties. She cited two model bills of particular importance, the draft Recommendations on Compiling a Standard List of Prohibited Occupations for Persons under 18, and the draft Recommendations on Compiling a Standard List of Prohibited or Restricted Occupations (Professions and Positions) for Women. “It is very important to protect these categories of citizens and ensure decent working conditions for them. This is key to maintaining the health of our countries’ populations.”

Russian senators presented several draft model laws to the Standing Commission on Agricultural Policy, Natural Resources and the Environment. Oleg Kuvshinnikov, First Deputy Chair of the Federation Council Committee on Agriculture and Food Policy and Environmental Management, spoke about the draft concept underlying the model laws On Limiting Greenhouse Gas Emissions and On Land Management, and presented a new version of the Model Land Code for CIS Member States.

Deputy Chair of the Federation Council Committee on Agriculture and Food Policy and Environmental Management Belan Khamchiev, in particular, reported on the work on model laws on the protection of atmospheric air and soils and environmental monitoring, and presented the drafts of the Model Concept of Environmental Education for the CIS Member States and the Model Concept for the Sustainable Development of Mountain Territories for the CIS Member States.

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