MOSCOW, January 10. /TASS/. Russia’s State Duma (lower house of parliament) Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin said he was going to meet with the president of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) on January 12.
While answering reporters’ questions after a Duma session, he said "I think, (the meeting will take place) on the 12th."
He added that Russia planned to discuss the entire range of problems concerning relations between Moscow and Strasbourg, including depriving Russia’s delegation of the right to vote and Russia’s decision to refrain from taking part in the PACE activities. "If anything becomes clear after the meeting with Mr. Agramunt, it will be good. But we should not expect all the problems to be solved in a blink of an eye," Volodin added.
The State Duma speaker also emphasized the importance of dialogue between Russian lawmakers and top officials of the PACE. "Of course, we would like things to be clarified. If we speak about Russia’s participation in PACE’s activities, then we are all for dialogue and cooperation. But it is no sense taking part in the PACE sessions as long as we are deprived of the right to vote and no one hears us," Volodin stressed.
He once again said it was unacceptable to impose restrictions against any national delegation, especially deprive it of the right to vote. "When someone is deprived of the right to vote, the Parliamentary Assembly lives according to archaic laws that it invented for itself. This is not normal as a parliament is a place for debate," he concluded.