Leonid Slutsky: There are no meetings with US diplomats on Russian State Duma agenda

Leonid Slutsky, Russian State Duma Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman, stated that Russian government officials are not planning to meet with the US representatives anytime soon, Russian News agency TASS reported Tuesday.

Slutsky’s comment comes after a statement by the US Senator Ron Johnson, who is in the Russia’s stop list, that he was denied visa to the country prior to bipartisan congressional visit. Earlier in the day Russian Foreign Ministry explained that Senator Johnson did not apply for a visa, “but made it look like his visa application had been rejected.”

“There are no meetings with US congressmen and senators on the State Duma’s agenda for the near future. I know nothing about a visit of the US congressional delegation that Ron Johnson referred to,» Slutsky said.

«It’s useless for him to express outrage. It wasn’t Moscow that initiated illegal restrictions against legislators. We have repeatedly pointed to the need to lift sanctions at various levels for they run counter to the very idea of parliamentarism,» Slutsky added.

«At the same time, I share the senator’s opinion that direct dialogue between lawmakers may help improve Russia-US relations,» Slutsky said.  «On our part, we continue to call for expanding ties with the US Congress for it wasn’t our decision to suspend them. However, this process should be based on mutual trust and equality.”

Natalia Veselnitskaya — official website

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