MOSCOW, October 5. /TASS/. Russian lawmaker Leonid Slutsky, who has been nominated to head the State Duma’s international affairs committee, does not rule out that the Russian delegation might return to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) in January 2017 if no "discriminatory tool" is used to deprive lawmakers of the right to vote.
"Given there is no discriminatory tool used to deprive the delegations of the right to vote, which is highly probable, we might return in January (to PACE)," Slutsky told reporters on Wednesday, speaking about the committee’s priorities.
"Until the decision is adopted, a dialogue will continue," he said.
In April 2014, Russia’s delegation to PACE was denied its basic rights due to the events in Ukraine and Crimea’s reunification with Russia.
In 2015, PACE, the parliamentary arm of the 47-nation Council of Europe, promoting democracy and human rights across the continent, voted twice on the possibility of restoring Russia’s delegation powers but the restrictions remain: Moscow is still deprived of the right to vote and take part in the PACE governing bodies and its monitoring activities. In response, Russia suspended its participation in all PACE activities till the end of 2015.