Alfred Sant has abstained on a European Parliament resolution on Russia and said that the way forward for the EU and Russia should be less confrontational and more objective.
In explaining his vote, Alfred Sant told the European Parliament that, on many levels, the Parliament’s position as described in the resolution contains rhetoric that can only lead to further escalation of hostile sentiments between the two sides.
“Clearly, the end point to such escalation could be war, for which the blame would not be attached to only one side”.
The resolution is one of a series of European Parliament resolutions dealing with Russia and mainly addresses the recent deployment of Russian troops on the Ukrainian border, the imprisonment of Russian activist Alexei Navalny, and alleged illegal activities by Russian military intelligence service on the territory of the Czech Republic which caused explosions of an ammunition depot back in 2014.
Notwithstanding his abstention, Alfred Sant condemned without any reservations the treatment being given across the line to opposition leader Alexei Navalny.
“As a full member of the Council of Europe, Russia is failing to honour its commitment under the Council’s charter. However, the resolution repeats and amplifies accusations that are part of a long exchange game between Russia and its critics. The objectivity and transparency of these claims are doubtful”, Alfred Sant said.
Alfred Sant stated that the EU’s relationship with Russia should be based on a mutual respect of international law, human rights standards and fundamental freedoms, with the aim of strengthening peace and security in the region.
The resolution was approved by 569 votes in favour, 67 against and 46 abstentions.