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MOSCOW, June 29. /TASS/. It is currently early to speak about Russia’s return to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) for its 2017 session, deputy Head of the Russian delegation at PACE and State Duma Deputy Leonid Slutsky said on Wednesday.
"The return in October is ruled out. It is not for certain that this will happen in January. I believe a decision will be made at a higher level, most likely, by the president," Slutsky told journalists after a meeting of State Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin with PACE President Pedro Agramunt.
"If the decision is not revised (and it is unlikely to be revised in October) the return in January is a political situation. It is not for certain that Pedro Agramunt and the leaders of political groups will ensure in the bureau and then in the assembly the adoption of such decisions," the lawmaker said.
"We need a guarantee that such decisions won’t be repeated any more. This is a guarantee that should be duly formalized, ideally, from our viewpoint, in the assembly’s work procedure," he said.
Russia’s delegation at PACE was deprived of its key rights in April 2014 following developments in Ukraine and Crimea’s reunification with Russia.
PACE, the parliamentary arm of the 47-nation Council of Europe, promoting democracy and human rights across the continent, voted twice on a possibility of restoring the Russian delegation’s powers but the restrictions remain: Russia is stripped of the right to vote and take part in the PACE governing bodies and its monitoring activities.
Owing to these restrictions, the Russian delegation suspended its participation in the PACE work until late 2015. In January 2016, Russia refused to file an application for confirming its powers for 2016.
The leadership of the Russian delegation has repeatedly said it will return to PACE only if all the sanctions are lifted.