STRASBOURG, June 27 (Itar-Tass) - Russia’s delegation to the PACE hopes that Belarus will be restored the Special Guest status in the PACE within the year, chairman of the Russian State Duma Committee for the CIS Affairs and Relations with Compatriots Leonid Slutsky said on Thursday.
“The five PACE political groups and the commission, including the Political Committee, call for resuming the dialogue with Belarus and returning Minsk the Special Guest status. There is serious progress. I believe that the problem will be solved within the year,” Slutsky said.
He said the Special Guest status would allow Minsk to build relations with the Council of Europe “within a direct dialogue and inter-parliamentary contacts”. “Both Belarus and Strasbourg will benefit,” Slutsky stressed.
The Belarusian issue was discussed earlier at the session of the political commission, which upheld the dialogue with Minsk.
Belarus had the Special Guest status in the middle of 1990’s. However, Belarus was deprived of the status due to the PACE’s claims over Minsk’s election system. In 2009 Belarus made an attempt to get the status and the PACE debated the resolution to this effect. But at the last moment the PACE has obliged the Belarusian authorities to impose a moratorium on death penalty.