MOSCOW, September 7 /TASS/. Alexander Romanovich, the vice-speaker of the Russian State Duma (lower house of parliament), and the deputy head of the Duma Committee for Foreign Affairs, said on Wednesday that a breakthrough had been made at his meeting with PACE President Pedro Agramunt which dwelt on the restoration of Russian delegation’s right at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE).
"Of course, there was a breakthrough in a sense that the PACE delegation understood our stance and is ready to discuss the restoration of our rights (at the Assembly)," Romanovich told TASS. He did not rule out that the Russian delegation might resume its work at PACE in full strength next year if PACE passed decisions excluding the application of any sanctions against Russia.
"The heads of PACE political groups are ready to resolve that problem but we still do not know how the entire Assembly is going to react to the proposal. We hope for their sober sense," the vice-speaker stressed.
In April 2014, PACE stripped the Russian delegation of its basic powers, including the right to vote and participate in the work of the Assembly’s governing bodies and its monitoring missions at elections in the territories of the Council of Europe states, because of the Ukraine conflict and Crimea’s reunification with Russia.
PACE considered a possibility of restoring the Russian delegation’s rights at PACE twice in 2015 but the sanctions are still in force. Russia, in turn, suspended its PACE activities until the end of 2015. Early in 2016, Moscow refused to apply for the Assembly’s January session, which usually confirms the delegations’ powers for the whole year.