MOSCOW, November 5. /TASS/. The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) is aware of its ‘gross mistake" that prompted Russia’s representatives to quit this organization, Valentina Matviyenko, speaker of the Federation Council, the upper house of Russian parliament, said on Thursday.
"The PACE is already aware that it committed a gross mistake by placing us in a situation when we were forced to leave this forum. Indeed, the atmosphere in the PACE and the PACE’s work have faded with our departure, I would say," Matviyenko said in an interview with Moskovsky Komsomolets daily.
Russia’s full-fledged participation in the PACE made the work of this organization "much more substantive and focused on specific and acute issues" such as countering the terrorist threat, solving social issues and strengthening security in Europe and in the world as a whole," she said.
Moreover, Russia was offering PACE member states ways of solving all of these problems, the Federation Council speaker said.
"Now that Russia is no longer in the PACE, the discussion of these and other topical issues is being considerably devalued with regard to both political and practical aspects," she said.
PACE is offering Russia to return, she said.
"We’re not objecting and we’re not closing the doors. But we say that we’ll return when PACE fully cancels discrimination against the Russian delegation and restores our rights in full. But we’ll not consent to half-hearted measures," the Russian politician said.
"PACE has driven itself into a deadlock and should itself find a way out of it," she added.
Western sanctions have prompted Russian parliamentarians to develop relations with counterparts from other countries, she said.
"If you think about this, then we should be grateful for the sanctions of our American partners, as we say. They prompted us to intensify considerably parliamentary diplomacy," she said.
The sanctions have limited interaction at the official level but Russian senators are compensating this "with the growth of communication with foreign parliamentarians," Matviyenko said.
"Our counterparts from the parliaments of other states are seeking to come to Moscow to hear us and, as it is said, get first-hand information. Instead of isolation, which the West wanted to impose on us, it was confronted with growing interest in our country and our policy," she added.
"Politicians are publicly saying that without Russia it is impossible to solve global problems because it is more trouble than it is worth to isolate it, as the saying goes," the Russian politician said.
"So we should be grateful to the sanctions as they have demonstrated the significance of our country in the global political process," she said.