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Kasyanov Hails EU Document Slamming Russia Over Human Rights

Kremlin and Saint Basil's
MOSCOW. June 9 (Interfax) - Former Russian prime minister Mikhail Kasyanov, today an opposition leader, hailed a European Parliament resolution on Thursday that accuses the Russian government of limiting the rights of opposition parties and persecuting their activists.

"It is a welcome fact that the European Parliament, in its assessment of the pre-election situation in Russia, emphasizes the need for registering opposition parties and giving them access to elections," Kasyanov, leader of the Popular Freedom Party (PARNAS), told Interfax.

"The European Parliament also justly mentions that the Russian Federation is directly committed to doing so as a member of the Council of Europe and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe," he said. "The Russian government must stop trampling on the fundamental freedoms of Russian citizens and ensure free elections with access for all political forces."

The European parliament called in its resolution for more ambitious trade, visa and cooperation agreements with Russia.

At the same time, the document, which comes as a message to the EU leaders present at a current EU-Russia summit in Nizhny Novgorod, accuses Russia of violations of basic human rights, including "politically motivated court decisions" against opposition leaders.

An adviser to Kasyanov, Yelena Dikun, told Interfax that the European Parliament had invited the ex-prime minister to a planned hearing in the EU legislature on June 14 on the current pre-election situation in Russia.

The hearing would be a follow-up to Thursday's resolution, she said.

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