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Russia Again Calls for Overhaul of European Elections Monitoring


Russia's Foreign Ministry is calling for an overhaul of Europe's largest security organization, after the group canceled plans to monitor Russia's upcoming parliamentary elections.

A ministry statement accused the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe of harboring a "political agenda," and said such activity was cause for "serious concern."

The OSCE earlier this month canceled poll monitoring plans for Sunday's Russian parliamentary elections because of what it called unacceptable Russian delays in issuing visas to its workers. Moscow also unilaterally reduced the number of worker visas from 400 to 70.

An OSCE spokeswoman said the developments left her organization with no choice but to withdraw.

OSCE Foreign Ministers meet Thursday and Friday in Madrid.

The French news agency, AFP, says the Foreign Ministry also urged the 56-member OSCE to focus more on the situation of Russian-speaking minorities in Europe. Russia has repeatedly complained about discrimination against Russian speakers.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.