MOSCOW, April 12. /TASS/. Head of the International Affairs Committee of the Russian State Duma lower house of parliament Alexey Pushkov met member of the Presidential Committee of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) Tiny Cox on Tuesday to confirm the conditions of Russia’s return to the Assembly work. According to him, Russia is ready to return to the organization when sanctions against the Russian delegation are lifted and conditions for equal work are ensured.
The Russian parliamentarian’s press service reported that Pushkov met in the State Duma on Tuesday with Chairperson of the Group of the Unified European Left in PACE, member of its Presidential Committee Tiny Cox.
"The sides discussed issues of relations between Russia and the Council of Europe and, above all, the conflict situation because of the sanctions adopted by PACE against the Russian delegation," the statement says. "The Dutch parliamentarian highlighted the need to find ways for the return of the Russian delegation to the PACE work. The Russian side confirmed Russia’s known position that the Russian delegation is ready to return to the work if sanctions against it are lifted and the conditions for equal participation in the organization’s activity are ensured," the press service said.
In addition, the conversation touched upon "issues related to the current Russia-EU relations, as well as the consequences of the Dutch referendum on the issue of the Ukraine-EU association deal."
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. Russia said in response it suspends its activity in PACE until late 2015.
Earlier, the legislator told a news conference "the absence of the Russian delegation in PACE means not only our physical absence from Strasbourg during sessions and absence in the meeting room." "All forms of cooperation that existed between Russia and PACE - preparation of reports by PACE on the Russian territory, visits by representatives and members of monitoring missions, our contacts with PACE’s official representatives - everything is cancelled," he said.
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.