ST. PETERSBURG, April 18. /TASS/. Speaker of the Russian Federation Council (upper house of parliament) Valentina Matviyenko has said that Moscow sees progress in resolving the crisis in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE).
"We are closely following what’s going on in PACE and see real progress and an understanding of the need to resolve the current crisis," Matviyenko told reporters on Thursday following meeting with PACE President Liliane Maury-Pasquier.
She also noted that the issue of Russia’s return to work in PACE would be resolved after the May 17 meeting of the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers.
"Judging by the intentions, which are expressed by various parties, there is a desire to make such decisions that would not allow to strip anyone of the right to vote and that would make it possible to file an application for the spring session not only in January, but also in June," Matviyenko went on to say.
"However, it’s too early to say now. We need to wait for the decisions to be made," the speaker noted. "We will decide on our stance depending on these decisions."
In April 2014, the Russian delegation to PACE was stripped of its key rights, including the right to vote and take part in the assembly’s governing bodies, over the developments in Ukraine and Crimea. The issue of restoring the Russian delegation’s rights was raised at PACE twice in 2015, but instead the sanctions were only tightened.
In response, Russia suspended its participation in PACE’s activities until the end of 2015. In 2016-2018, Russia skipped the parliamentary assembly’s meetings due to the ongoing sanctions and did not renew its credentials in the wake of anti-Russian sentiment in Strasbourg.
On 10 October 2018, Secretary General of the Council of Europe Thorbjorn Jagland told the PACE autumn session that the organization's Committee of Ministers will have to expel Russia from the Council’s decision-making bodies - the Committee of Ministers and the Parliamentary Assembly - if the country does not make any monetary contributions. In response, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov pointed out that Russia would quit the Council of Europe on its own volition in case opponents at the council insist on its expulsion.