Moscow has again proposed that a commission be set up to resolve family disputes involving Finland and Russia. Russian officials in Geneva suggested that such a panel could consider international divorce and child custody disputes.
Pasi Tuominen, director of the Finnish Foreign Ministry's Consular Assistance Unit, told Yle that such a body is unnecessary, since Finland handles such matters according to international treaties.
Moscow "expects constructive attitude"
"The question of violations of children's rights in family conflicts is on the Russian-Finnish bilateral agenda," Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said. "We continue to try and convince Finnish partners of the need to set up a Russian-Finnish commission for considering disputes and conflicts in international divorces and in the choice of the place of residence of children, as well as in the participation of parents in the upbringing of their children and ways to enable the children to know their native language."
He noted that Moscow agreed with France last autumn to set up such a bilateral body.
"We expect a constructive attitude from Helsinki on these issues," added Lukashevich.
Moscow last brought up the idea ahead of a visit to Finland by President Dmitry Medvedev in mid-2010.
That spring, Russia's ombudsman for children Pavel Astakhov met with Finnish Ambassador Matti Anttonen on the issue. That followed an incident the previous year when a five-year-old boy was smuggled back to Finland by his father with help from a Finnish consular official.