MOSCOW, September 26. /TASS/. Sergei Naryshkin, who was speaker of Russia’s previous State Duma, has called to modernize the work of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) and to restore Russia’s rights there.
"In conditions of the security crisis, parliamentary diplomacy has proved to be one of the most efficient instruments. And it is necessary to restore all Russia’s rights in PACE and modernize the work of the Assembly," he wrote in an article "Together Against Risks" published on the Rossiiskaya Gazeta website on Monday.
According to Naryshkin, Russia’s initiatives on that matter are well known and have been voiced more than once. "For the first time - three years ago, in Strasbourg, and repeated at the latest meeting with the PACE leadership," he noted.
"I would like to stress: a positive agenda is much better than dead-end showdown in loud voices," he wrote. "Moreover, on issues that have emerged after the dialogue was rolled back due to external hindrance to the cooperation vector beneficial for us and the entire Europe. Our common humanistic values and historical fate will ultimately work the way out anyway and will not allow drive a wedge among the family of European nations. And those who draw other pictures of the world are going against the truth and will be defeated."
In April 2014, the Russian delegation to PACE was stripped of key rights following the developments in Ukraine and Crimea’s reunification with Russia. The issue of restoring the rights of the Russian delegation was raised at PACE twice throughout 2015 but the sanctions are still in place: Russia is deprived of the right to vote and cannot take part in the Assembly’s governing bodies and elections monitoring missions. In response, Russia suspended its participation in the PACE activities till the end of 2015. In January 2016, Russia refrained from applying for confirmation of its rights for 2016.
After talks with a visiting PACE delegation led by its President Pedro Agramunt on September 7, Naryshkin said PACE wants the Russian delegation to resume full-format participation in the Assembly’s work. Naryshkin also confirmed that Russian lawmakers are ready to resume full-format cooperation within PACE but only "on the principle of equality which is a fundamental one for that organization.".