Lithuanian reps to boycott OSCE PA session in Vienna – delegation head

  • 2023-02-21
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS - Lithuanian representatives will boycott the winter session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe in Vienna after Austria allowed Russian representatives to attend, Vilija Aleknaite-Abramikiene, head of the Lithuanian Seimas delegation, says. 

"The final decision is not to attend. We have waited until yesterday, my suitcase is still ready, hoping that the Austrians will change their decision. They will announce it only today but I have learnt in advance through unofficial channels that they will issue visas to all applicants", she told BNS on Tuesday.

"We have made our minds and we are united, both the position and the opposition, and there are no different views here," the head of the Lithuanian delegation said.

The OSCE PA's winter session in Vienna will take place on Thursday and Friday.

In a joint statement issued after their meeting in Vilnius earlier this month, the Nordic, Baltic and Polish parliamentary delegations said that Russia must be held accountable and responsible for its actions in Ukraine, and that an international legal mechanism should be created to assess the aggressor's crimes.

They noted that Russia's participation in the OSCE PA meeting in Vienna will without doubt be used for propaganda purposes at home and abroad and "will send a very disappointing message to the international community".

Lithuanian invited the Nordic, Baltic and Polish counterparts to join a boycott, if Russia was allowed to attend, but the countries failed to agree on the issue.

Aleknaite-Abramikiene then said representatives of other countries decided to "fight the Russians in the same hall".

All members of the Russian delegation have been on the EU sanction lists for violations of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity since the beginning of 2014.

The OSCE PA session will take place on February 23-24, the anniversary of Russia's war against Ukraine.

The Austrian Foreign Ministry earlier told AFP that the country is "obliged under international law to grant entry to the delegates of all OSCE participating states".