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Norway summons Russian ambassador to protest rejected visas

MOSCOW (Reuters) - The Norwegian Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday it had summoned the Russian ambassador to complain after Moscow refused to issue visas to two Norwegian members of parliament.

The ministry said the members of parliament's foreign affairs committee had been due to visit Moscow on Thursday and Friday after receiving an official invitation from Russia's upper house of parliament, the Federation Council.

It said Moscow had blocked the visas because of Norway's sanctions against Russia, imposed after it annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.

Foreign Minister Borge Brende said the visa denial was "highly regrettable" and that Norway had protested through diplomatic channels before summoning Teimuraz Ramishvili, the ambassador.

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"Meetings between parliamentarians are an important element of political contact. The planned visit ... would have brought this dialogue further," Brende said in a statement.

"We find the Russian decision unjustified and unreasonable. We have urged the Russian authorities to look at this again," he said.

(Reporting by Peter Hobson and Gwladys Fouche; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)

 
 
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