Moscow, February 26, Interfax - Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his Dutch counterpart Franciscus Timmermans disagreed over Russian international commitments regarding homosexual rights.
Timmermans recalled at a Tuesday press conference in Moscow that he had urged the State Duma not to ban homosexual propaganda because that law could breach fundamental rights and freedoms declared by international documents.
There are international instruments to decide whether this is so, the minister said. In the words of Timmermans, Russia made it clear it would abide by international commitments and they should wait and see what happened, but EU foreign chief Catherine Ashton, he and other European ministers had asked the State Duma not to pass the law.
The only criterion is the commitments undertaken by countries at universal or common European institutes, Lavrov said.
"We do not have a single universal or common European commitment to permit homosexual propaganda," Lavrov stressed.
He said that the Criminal Code article, which punished homosexuals in the Soviet Union, was abolished a long time ago and "homosexuals could do what they do absolutely freely and with impunity."
"This (principle) fits the commitment of all states to prevent any kind of discrimination. Yet we have no commitment to permit propaganda, which is very aggressive as a rule. We can hardly undertake this commitment even theoretically because we have our moral values and the historical, cultural and religious traditions of our society," the minister said.
"We do not discriminate against anyone, but we do not want to be discriminated against either: to give a group of citizens the right to aggressively promote their values, which differ from the values of the majority of society members, and thrust them on children," Lavrov said.