The State Duma, the lower house of the Parliament, has refused to consider a draft resolution on granting the political asylum to the leaders of the Palestinian Authority. One of the Liberal-Democratic leaders, Alexei Mitrofanov, drafted the resolution. Only 14 parliamentarians, with 226 necessary votes, voted to put the draft resolution of the agenda of the house's plenary session. Mitrofanov suggested granting political asylum to the Palestinian activists who took part in the siege of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem and are now staying in Cyprus. Chairman of the State Duma's international committee Dmitry Rogozin spoke up against this proposal. He called on the members to vote against this proposal pointing to the fact that "these kind of fellows who seized the Orthodox Church in Bethlehem are more than enough in the North Caucasus."
The choice of the city of Helsinki is not incidental as the capital of Finland had hosted US-Soviet negotiations on the limitation of nuclear stockpiles in 1969