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Russian, U.S. Lawmakers Discuss Creation of Anti-Terrorism Group

Feb. 24, 2017 (EIRNS)—The Russian and U.S. delegations to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) met in Vienna yesterday to discuss creation of a joint anti-terrorism working group, according to Pyotr Tolstoy, a member of the Russian delegation and State Duma Deputy Speaker.

"We have been speaking that we need to intensify an inter-parliamentary dialogue, to create a working group on the problem evident to everybody—a war on terror,"

he said after a meeting with U.S. lawmakers on sidelines of the OSCE PA winter session.

Another member of the Russian delegation and OSCE PA Special Representative on Anti-Terrorism Nikolay Kovalev told TASS that they also said, "Our joint task is to organize the meeting as soon as possible. From this platform, we have agreed to further cooperation," he said.

The U.S. delegation was led by Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.). There has been very little media coverage of the meeting. According to RIA Novosti, at the meeting Senator Wicker raised the question about Russia’s so-called "Dima Yakovlev" law, which forbids U.S. citizens from adopting Russian orphans, or U.S. organizations to be involved in adoptions in Russia. The 2012 law was named for a child who died after being adopted into a U.S. family. Wicker noted that the question about adopting children from Russia "is still acute in the U.S.A." said RIA Novosti. Wicker told Tolstoy that resolving the issue of adoptions also "may be one of the points of contact for relations between the two countries."

In response, Tolstoy recalled that the law was adopted after a series of tragedies that occurred with Russian children in American families. At the time he said, the United States refused to provide an opportunity for Russian guardianship bodies to monitor the fate of adopted children. "It’s a two-way street," Tolstoy stressed.

According to TASS someone in the American delegation—presumably what have been referred to as "stay behinds" from the previous administration—raised the allegations of Russia’s hacking and interference in elections, to which OSCE PA Special Representative on Anti-Terrorism Nikolay Kovalev, a member of the Russian delegation, countered that they had presented no evidence whatsoever, in remarks to TASS yesterday. At last year’s OSCE PA session in Tbilisi, Kovalev had proposed a special group on terrorism and cyberattacks, reported Sputnik.

TASS quoted Kovalev, a member of the Duma, "The issue of ‘interference in the elections’ has been raised.... Hacking was affirmed as a threat to democratic foundations of a state and (it was said) it was necessary to fight the phenomenon," he said. "There was no mention of the evidence, so we said that we were ready for joint work but on the basis on concrete documents."