Russia to consider European recommendations on NGOs
MOSCOW, March 3 (RIA Novosti) - Russia will consider recommendations from the Council of Europe when drawing up documents for implementing the law on non-governmental organizations, the country's foreign minister said Friday.
"Many good pieces of advice from Europe have been considered while preparing the NGO law and will be taken into account while preparing enforcement documents to implement the new Russian legislation on NGOs," Sergei Lavrov said at a briefing after talks with CE Secretary General Terry Davis.
Lavrov also said that Russia and the Council of Europe wanted more productive discussion of problems related to NGOs and Russian speakers in Latvia and Estonia.
He said the talks had partly focused on the preparation for Russia's chairmanship of the CE Council of Ministers in May-October 2006, adding that Russia would continue the CE's efforts to fight terrorism, organized crime and corruption.
"And we all have to think how to prevent the establishment of new divides in Europe, this time along religious and ethnic lines," the minister said.
The bill on non-governmental organizations brought harsh criticism from the West, which said the bill would hamper the activities of foreign NGOs, including humanitarian and rights groups, in Russia. Russian officials argued control over foreign NGOs in western countries was much more stringent.
The lower house of parliament, the State Duma, approved the bill in third reading December 23, 2005 following amendments made by President Vladimir Putin.