Events

Valentina Matviyenko: The Federation Council is firmly committed to promoting constructive, equitable and mutually beneficial cooperation with all its partners

The Federation Council hosted an international conference, The Role of Parliaments in the Modern World. The Federation Council of the Russian Federal Assembly: 25 years on the Path of Multifaceted Parliamentary Cooperation.


Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko delivered a speech at the opening of the international conference titled The Role of Parliaments in the Modern World. The Federation Council of the Russian Federal Assembly: 25 Years on the Path of Multifaceted Parliamentary Cooperation.

“Interparliamentary dialogue is acquiring a special importance against the backdrop of global crises that unfortunately affect the institution of parliamentarism. We are convinced that democratic institutions today are in need of protection against, among other things, foreign intervention and unfair, politicised opinions that run contrary to the rule of law,” Valentina Matviyenko said, adding that she strongly believes this to be one of the priorities of the global parliamentary family.

The Federation Council Speaker noted that the conference is timed to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the Russian Constitution, which ushered in a new era in Russian democratic history as well as laying the foundation of the country’s modern political system.

“The political system of our country is the result of many centuries of evolution of state governance. Throughout a thousand years of its history, Russia has been gradually building its own unique model of state governance without ever turning in on itself or isolating itself. Russia has always considered honest and equitable dialogue between nations to be a prerequisite for a safe, stable and prosperous world. This principle today forms the basis of Russia’s foreign policy, an important element of which is multifaceted inter-parliamentary cooperation.”

“We are certain that unhindered dialogue between the world’s parliamentarians is an important achievement and our common heritage that needs protection today,” the Federation Council Speaker said.

Valentina Matviyenko believes that complex processes are underway in the modern world: today’s threats are universal and inclusive, which means that there is no hiding from them behind national and bloc walls, or trying to face them alone.

“To overcome negative trends, the global community must restore trust and find reasonable and commonly accepted solutions. This can and must be done via parliamentary diplomacy, which is visibly growing in importance in today’s international relations,” the Speaker said.

In this context, she recalled the 137th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, which took place in St Petersburg in October 2017. “The initiatives put forward at the Assembly were adopted by the UN and are being implemented. I’m talking about the establishment of International Day of Parliamentarism and the World Conference on Interfaith and Interethnic Dialogue.

Valentina Matviyenko pointed out that the Russian delegation to the 139th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union proposed launching a Global Parliamentary Campaign to celebrate International Day of Parliamentarism. “The initiative could culminate in the adoption of an International Parliamentarism Charter. If this initiative were to receive support, the charter would be open for ratification for all parliamentary assemblies and national parliaments around the world. It could become the cornerstone document of international parliamentary diplomacy, the only one of its kind, and help develop national parliamentary institutions,” Valentina Matviyenko stressed.

 

She said that another important area on the interparliamentary track is promoting the idea of the inadmissibility of sanctions against parliamentarians or restriction of interparliamentary dialogue.

The Speaker expressed her belief that many societal woes are rooted in disregard of the humanity’s historical memory, which gives rise to the return of xenophobia, racism and anti-Semitism. Valentina Matviyenko recalled the Federation Council’s proposal addressed to foreign parliaments to jointly call on the UN, UNESCO and other international organisations to include the Victory over Nazism during WWII on the World Heritage list, and to recognise monuments to anti-Nazi fighters all over the world as the WWII Memorial common to all nations. “The promotion of this idea will consolidate the global community in the fight against extremism in the modern world.”

Valentina Matviyenko singled out cooperation with global communities, including women’s and youth organisations, as another vitally important area. “The Second Eurasian Women’s Forum, which was held in St Petersburg in September, is notable in this respect.”

 

“The enhanced role of legislatures in the modern world is evidenced by the growing number of interparliamentary organisations and stronger parliamentary involvement in the processes of integration. Many examples can be cited here, including the CIS Interparliamentary Assembly, the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, the European Parliament, the Asia-Pacific Parliamentary Forum, the Asian Parliamentary Assembly, the Latin American Parliament, the Pan-African Parliament and many others. Interparliamentary cooperation is developing as part of the G20 and BRICS. The prospects of interparliamentary cooperation as part of the SCO are currently under discussion.

“Each of these associations has unique experience of cooperation. It is for this reason that these organisations must preserve the democratic principles that underlie them. It is unacceptable for interparliamentary bodies with rich history to lose their authority by refusing to let some nations take part in their work. Not only does it undermine their universal status, it holds them hostage to group and national self-interests and runs contrary to the spirit of parliamentarism,” the Speaker said.

 

“The doors of the Federation Council are open to all parliamentary delegations that are ready for constructive dialogue. The Federation Council is firmly committed to the development of constructive, equitable and mutually beneficial cooperation with all our partners. One of the most important goals of interparliamentary diplomacy is the shaping of a positive unifying agenda,” Valentina Matviyenko said.


In her speech, Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces of the South African Parliament Thandi Modise stressed the role of parliaments in the strengthening of democratic institutions globally. “Parliamentary diplomacy allows us to ensure stability and peace, and to uphold human rights,” she said.

Russian State Secretary and Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin noted that in the past 25 years Russia has come a long way in state building, development of democracy, and the promotion of civil society potential. “Great credit for this goes to the Russian Parliament.” Speaking about Russia’s parliamentary diplomacy, Grigory Karasin stressed its wide reach and staunch commitment to fundamental principles of international law.

Secretary General of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Martin Chungong congratulated the Federal Assembly of Russia on its 25th anniversary, saying that a quarter of a century is an important milestone for any organisation. The Federal Assembly is actively involved in the work of the IPU. “The Russian Parliament has been our member since 1897,” he said.

First Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly (Majlisi Milli) of the Supreme Assembly (Majlisi Oli) of Tajikistan, Rajabboy Ahmadzoda noted the growing role of parliaments in the world, and stressed the close and productive relationship between the parliaments of Russia and Tajikistan that serves the interests of both nations.

Deputy Speaker of the Milli Mejlis of Azerbaijan Valeh Aleskerov said that interparliamentary cooperation is an important part of the Russian-Azerbaijani bilateral relations, which are guided by the existing agreement on cooperation between the Milli Mejlis and the Russian Federal Assembly. “The level of our cooperation can serve as a model of interparliamentary relations.”


Filippo Lombardi, Chair of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly’s Committee on Political Affairs and Security, Co-chair of the Switzerland-Russia interparliamentary group within the Federal Assembly of Switzerland expressed confidence that parliamentarians must represent the “party of peace.” “In today’s multipolar world, we must act to rule out any form of sanctions against parliamentarians. Parliamentarians must not support sanctions against one another or block dialogue,” he said calling on his colleagues to work together.

The meeting participants also heard speeches by First Deputy Speaker of the Afghanistan National Assembly’s House of Elders Muhammad Alam Izadyar, Deputy Chairman of the Senate of Pakistan Saleem Mandviwalla, Chairperson of the Republic of Korea’s National Assembly Group on Cooperation with the Russian Federal Assembly Choo Mi-ae, Secretary General of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Asaf Hajiyev, and Head of the Japan-Russia Parliamentary Friendship Association Ichiro Aisawa.

Deputy Speaker of the Federation Council Ilyas Umakhanov presented Secretary General of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Martin Chungong with the Federation Council: 25 Years medal.

A film on the Federation Council’s 25th anniversary was screened at the conference.