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MOSCOW, December 17. /TASS/. The position on Russia’s payments to the budget of the Council of Europe will depend on the decision on Russia’s delegation participation in the PACE January session, Russia’s State Duma Speaker Sergey Naryshkin said on Thursday.
"As for the contribution, this issue is also open and our actions will depend on a number of factors," the head of Russia’s lower house of parliament said. "First of all, on the major decision - whether we will participate in the work of the January session of PACE."
"We are considering now how to behave regarding PACE, a decision will be due in January, but, of course, prior to the session," he said.
On November 11, speaker of the Russian parliament Sergey Naryshkin suggested that Russia should not hurry with payment of the 2016 annual fee.
"Indeed, we must not hurry with the payment of the fee [for 2016]," he said at a session reviewing Russia’s 20 years in the Council of Europe. He said at any rate Russia should not hurry with paying off the whole fee this year.
In early December, the head of the State Duma’s international affairs committee told reporters the issue of participation in PACE’s January session and the issue of the fee to the Council of Europe would be due in mid-December.
The Russian delegation to the PACE was stripped of powers last April because of Moscow’s stance on Ukraine and Crimea’s reunification with Russia. In 2015, the Parliamentary Assembly has taken decisions twice on the possible restoration of the Russian delegation’s voting rights, but the restrictions remain in force. Russia is denied of its right to vote at the Assembly sessions and excluded from the organization’s governing bodies. In response to these sanctions, the Russian delegation has suspended its participation in the work of the PACE until the end of this year.
Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said Russia’s annual fee to the United Nations Organisation is about $30 million. The fee to the Council of Europe is indivisible and it is an aggregated fee to PACE, the Committee of Ministers, the European Congress of Local and Regional Authorities and to the European Court of Human Rights - the total of about $40 million.
On November 27, speaker of Russia’s State Duma (lower house of parliament) Sergey Naryshkin said in a commentary published on his personal website the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) has recently indulged in mentoring neglecting major international issues.
Naryshkin recalled that 18 months ago he had published an open letter to PACE President Anne Brasseur, adding that his commentary was timed for this event. "Tomorrow will mark 18 months since I sent a letter to PACE head Ms. Brasseur, in which I put it bluntly that stripping our delegation of the voting rights was nothing else but the imposition of the so-called sanctions on three dozen of lawmakers elected by the Russian people and that this decision was directed against the European parliamentarism. It will bring the assembly ‘Herostratic fame’ (fame at any cost)," the State Duma speaker said.
He noted that, unfortunately, "throughout the past and this year, PACE continued to indulge in mentoring neglecting a number of major international issues." By contrast, Russian lawmakers have worked at all international events as actively as never before… and, contrary to the expectations of our opponents, received dozens of representatives of the European parliaments and European parliamentarians. "We could do easily without the Strasbourg venue," he noted.