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MOSCOW, June 23. /TASS/. Russian State Duma Speaker Sergey Naryshkin has said he is ready to meet with the speaker of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe Pedro Agramunt on the sidelines of the Parliamentary Assembly of Black Sea Economic Cooperation in Moscow.
"I’ve confirmed the readiness to meet with the current speaker of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Mr. Agramunt. The meeting is due next week, within the framework of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation in Moscow," Naryshkin said on Thursday at a TASS news conference devoted to the performance of the outgoing sixth State Duma.
"I do not rule out that there will gather the leaders of political groups. Anyway, they displayed an obvious intention to do so. Earlier today I asked our counterparts to reaffirm their readiness to hold such a meeting," he said. Naryshkin said the intention and wish of PACE representatives "to come here and to talk" indicates the growing awareness that the absence of the Russian delegation from the PACE narrows the opportunities for a wide discussion.
Russia’s delegation to PACE was stripped of its basic rights due to the events in Ukraine and Crimea’s reunification with Russia. In 2015 the Assembly twice considered the issue of restoring the Russian delegation’s rights, but the sanctions have remained in effect to date. Russia is unable to vote or participate in the activity of the Assembly’s leadership bodies and its monitoring missions that oversee elections in the CE space. In response Russia suspended its participation in all PACE activities till the end of 2015.
At the beginning of January Russia refused to file an application for participation in the January session of the Assembly where the delegations’ powers are confirmed for another year. The Russian delegation’s leadership has repeatedly said that Russia will return to the PACE only if and when all sanctions are lifted.