Ilyas Umakhanov: "Russia will host biggest parliamentary platform in the world"

Ilyas Umakhanov: "Russia will host biggest parliamentary platform in the world"

The Inter-Parliamentary Union Assembly, which unites parliaments of most states of the world, will open in in St. Petersburg on September 14. Chairman of the Federation Council Ilyas Umakhanov discussed this event in an interview with Vestnik Kavkaza.

- What can you tell about the program of the 137th Inter-Parliamentary Union Assembly in St. Petersburg?

- The main task of the 137th Assembly and its organizers - secretariat of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and Russia's Federation Council - is to ensure that all the issues on the agenda will be discussed constructively, without any problems, so that specific solutions and recommendations can be worked out. Our agenda includes very serious topics: issues of democracy, diversity of cultures, mechanisms to promote rapprochement between peoples of different nationalities and faiths. There are a lot of international problems today - from overall tensions in the world to North Korea and Syria. Of course, these issues will be discussed, and we already know that a number of countries are preparing to present certain initiatives. As a host country, we should provide the most comfortable conditions, unbiased discussion and objective platform for decision-making process.

- What role does this Assembly play in the development of interparliamentary diplomacy?

- The IPU Assembly is the biggest parliamentary platform in the world, like the UN for parliamentarians. Its the oldest and largest organization that unites 173 countries, 11 international organizations, as well as observers and associate members. Up to 1,500 delegates gather for this event annually. This is a significant forum for parliamentary cooperation. Its a global mechanism for consultations, interaction and decision-making.

- Will South Caucasus problems be discussed during the Assembly?

- We will discuss the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Overall, it depends on what kind of topics will the Azerbaijani delegation raise. I assume that one of the delegations will mention the role of parliaments in the settlement of conflicts that exist in the world. At the same time, I should note that when it comes to bilateral issues, and we are talking about a topic that affects the interests of Azerbaijan and Armenia, there are already existing mechanisms, like the OSCE Minsk Group and direct dialogue between the presidents of the republics with the mediation of Russian president, Russian foreign minister and others.

- Last week, Muslims around the world celebrated Eid al-Adha, culmination of Hajj. What are the preliminary results of this year's Hajj?

- Pilgrims are now returning home. Preparation stage was successful: 23,5 thousand Russian citizens participated in the Hajj this year, 7 thousand more people compared to the last year. I would like to express my gratitude to the authorities of Saudi Arabia. I have already expressed gratitude to his majesty King Salman, when we had a short meeting, for all the conditions that Saudi authorities provided for Russian pilgrims. An interesting detail: although most of the pilgrims flew to Saudi Arabia directly by charter flights, three representatives of Dagestan went there on bicycles. They traveled 3 thousand km. This is a beautiful symbol of physical, spiritual, moral overcoming.

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