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MOSCOW, January 11. /TASS/. Speaker of Russia’s State Duma (lower house of parliament), Vyacheslav Volodin, has said he sees no point in Russia’s participation in the work of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) until its regulations that would protect the rights of national delegations are amended.
"The issue of the Russian delegation’s participation in PACE is a question for the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe itself and making the necessary amendments to its regulations," the speaker said opening the State Duma session on Wednesday. "Unless and until they are changed and the rights of national delegations are protected, the involvement in the PACE work is pointless," Volodin noted.
According to Volodin, the consolidated stance of all State Duma parliamentary factions is that stripping the delegation of any member-country of its voting rights at PACE is inadmissible. "This decision runs counter to the essence of parliamentarism as such. It runs counter to the very idea of the pan-European parliamentary structure where various stances of member-countries are to be represented and different opinions are to be heard," he said.
The speaker confirmed that Russian lawmakers favor dialogue. "Russia is part of the European community, and we are working to build bilateral contacts with all PACE member-countries," he said.
Russia’s delegation at PACE was deprived of its key rights in April 2014 over developments in Ukraine and Crimea’s reunification with Russia. Russia is stripped of the right to vote and take part in the PACE governing bodies and its monitoring activities. Owing to these restrictions, the Russian delegation suspended its participation in the PACE work until late 2015.