MOSCOW, March 17. /TASS/. Moscow does not see any reason to invite observers from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) to parliamentary election, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexey Meshkov told reporters on Thursday.
"The Russian delegation does not participate in PACE. That is why there are other respectable parliamentary structures that, I am confident, will be invited by us," Meshkov said. "I do not see any reason to invite the structure where Russia is not working for now," he added.
Meshkov said that at first the powers of the Russian delegation in PACE should be restored, and "only after that issues like that would be considered."
In 2014, the parliamentary arm of the 47-nation Council of Europe, promoting democracy and human rights across the continent, stripped Russia of voting rights following events in Ukraine. It suspended both Russia's right to sit on its governing bodies and Russian participation in election observer missions.
Russian parliamentary delegates left the April session before its official completion as a gesture of protest and refused to take part in future PACE activities, staying away from the assembly's summer and autumn sessions. At the January session in 2015, PACE extended its sanctions against Russia’s delegation until April. In response, Moscow severed contact with the group for another year. The Russian delegation repeatedly stated that it will return to PACE only if all sanctions from Russia are removed. The Russian delegation did not take part in PACE’s winter session in Strasbourg.