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HELSINKI, June 6 /TASS/. A Finnish delegation at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) will pay a visit to Moscow on June 7-8 at the invitation of Alexey Pushkov, the head of the Russian State Duma Committee for Foreign Affairs, Maria Guzenina-Richardson, Chairperson of the Finnish PACE delegation, told TASS on Monday.
According to her, the Finnish delegation has always stressed the significance of a dialogue, which is a vital treasure of the Council of Europe. The Finnish foreign policy is visible in the activities of the Finnish PACE delegation. "Finland stresses its unity with the European Union but believes it to be vital to conduct a direct and open dialogue among countries," Guzenina said.
She recalled that Russia had stayed away from PACE sessions this year. "The Finnish delegation is heading for Moscow at the invitation of Pushkov who used to heads the Russian delegation at PACE. We have been maintaining and want to continue our good dialogue with him," Guzenina added.
The Russian and Finnish sides will exchange new information concerning the latest PACE decisions and agenda. They will also discuss prospects for Russia’s return to PACE. Guzenina believes that there is no dialogue without cooperation and that no solutions are born without cooperation.
The Russian PACE delegation was stripped of its main powers in April 2014 because of the events in Ukraine and Crimea’s reunification with Russia. PACE considered a possibility of lifting sanctions on Russia twice in the course of 2015 but they are still in force: Russia is deprived of its right to vote and participate in the work of PACE governing bodies as well as its monitoring missions, which observe elections in the Council of Europe space.
In return, Russia suspended its participation in PACE activities. The leaders of Russia’s delegation at PACE have repeated many times that Russia will return to PACE only after all the restrictions have been lifted.