Europe's top security organization has canceled plans to monitor Russia's December second parliamentary elections.
The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe called the cancellation the result of Russia's refusal to receive observers in a timely and cooperative manner.
The group said Russian authorities had delayed issuing entry visas to the monitors, who sought to observe proceedings not only on Election Day, but also preparations including the campaign and media coverage.
An OSCE spokeswoman (Urdur Gunnarsdottir) said the organization believes it had no other choice. A Russian Central Electoral Commission member (Igor Borisov) said that body determined that monitors have no need to observe early election procedures. In Washington, a State Department spokesman (Sean McCormack) termed the obstacles Russia placed on the observers unfortunate. But he said the United States understands the cancellation as an effort to preserve the integrity of the election monitoring process.