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MOSCOW, January 6. /TASS/. Two mutually exclusive viewpoints on application of sanctions against national delegations are currently forming in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), head of international affairs committee of the Federation Council [upper house of the Russian parliament - TASS] Konstantin Kosachev told TASS on Friday. The PACE will have to settle this conflict through discussions and potential amendments to its regulations, the Russian parliament member added.
"Two mutually exclusive points of view are gradually consolidating there [in the PACE - TASS]," Kosachev said. One of them is that Russia should adhere to all prior resolutions passed by the Assembly, regarding "de-occupation of Crimea," and so on, he said. "The opposite point of view is that sanctions against national delegations and in respect of parliament members are inappropriate in principle," he added. Supporters of the second viewpoint are confident if a state is a full-fledged member of the Council of Europe, it must have an opportunity to participate in all organizations of the Council of Europe in full scope, including the PACE, the Russian senator said.
"We will see from discussions at the January session and the following sessions what of these two points of view will prevail," Kosachev said. The PACE will decide itself on the issue regarding amendments to its regulations, the Russian parliament member said. Russia has "its vision and its specific proposals" already communicated to the Assembly, he added. These amendments should prevent further abuse of regulations against national delegations and decision-making by the minority of the active roll, Kosachev said.
The Russian parliament will decide after its spring session whether Russia requests confirmation of powers of its delegation at the nearest PACE session, Kosachev said. "This is the issue of ongoing consultations but my personal point of view is that no conditions have been formed so far to request powers for return of the Russian delegation to the PACE," he added.
In April 2014, the Russian delegation to the PACE was stripped of key rights, including the right to vote and take part in the assembly’s governing bodies, 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 January 2016, Russia refrained from applying for confirmation of its rights for 2016. On December 1, 2016 it was reported that Russia had paid its entire 2017 contribution to the Council of Europe, including the sum due to go to the PACE.