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MOSCOW, January 12. /TASS/. Russia will not take part in the plenary sessions of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) and the activities of its committees in 2017, Chairman of Russia’s State Duma (lower house of parliament) Committee for International Affairs Leonid Slutsky said.
"Of course, we won’t participate in the plenary sessions (of the PACE) and the committees’ activities, but we could take part in various conferences, seminars and hearings held by the PACE political groups. I am sure that there will be a lot of such events in 2017," Slutsky said.
Russia and PACE are likely to start a more meaningful cooperation in 2017, Slutsky said.
"PACE has been gradually increasing cooperation with Russia. I am sure that cooperation between Moscow and Strasbourg will develop more meaningfully this year," Slutsky noted following the talks between State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin and President of PACE Pedro Agramunt.
In April 2014, the Russian delegation to the PACE was stripped of its basic rights over the crisis in Ukraine and Crimea’s reunification with Russia. In 2015, the PACE twice considered the possibility of restoring the Russian delegation to its original rights only to leave the sanctions in effect both times. Russia was denied the right to vote and to participate in the activities of the Assembly’s leadership bodies and its monitoring missions overseeing elections in the Council of Europe’s member countries. In response, Russia suspended its participation in PACE activities till the end of 2015.
In January 2016, Russia refused to request confirmation of its rights for 2016.