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Russia, Ex-Soviet States Criticize OSCE

9 July 2004 -- Russia and eight other ex-Soviet states yesterday accused Europe's biggest security and human rights watchdog of failing to respect their sovereignty.

The criticism was aimed at the 55-state Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

A written statement signed by Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan said the OSCE "does not respect such fundamental noninterference in internal affairs and respect of national sovereignty."

Russia has long accused the OSCE of having double standards, saying the organization criticizes human-rights and democracy failings east of Vienna, where the organization is based, but does not denounce similar shortcomings in the West.