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  Monday, October 21, 2019
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Russia will invite international monitors to the 2008 presidential elections,
Russia will invite international monitors to the 2008 presidential elections, the foreign minister said on Thursday.

"We will fulfill our obligation to invite observers to the elections," Sergei Lavrov said after a meeting with his Finnish counterpart.

The Foreign Minister also guaranteed that all OSCE observers, who complained about receiving their invitations too late, would get Russian visas beforehand.

"As far as December 2 parliamentary elections are concerned, I can assure you that observers will obtain Russian visas beforehand, so that they could familiarize themselves with the situation and fulfill their mission, " he said, adding that in order to obtain a visa, one should apply for it first.

Luc Van den Brande, co-rapporteur on Russia at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) earlier said he was concerned by the fact that Russia had reduced the numbers of monitors and issued official invitations late.

A total of 350 observers are to monitor elections to Russia's lower house of parliament on December 2, about three times fewer than four years ago, Vladimir Churov, Russia's top election official, had earlier said.

More than 1,100 foreign observers monitored the State Duma elections in 2003, and Churov explained that the number had been cut in order to involve "professionals" in the monitoring process.

He also said with a total of just over 200 people working in the Central Election Commission, it would be problematic for such a small team to provide good working conditions for over a thousand foreign observers.

The OSCE received an official invitation to monitor the State Duma elections on October 31. The invitation limited the number of monitors to 70, and placed restrictions on the time allotted for the observers to carry out their work.


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