MOSCOW, February 27. /TASS/. The French delegation intends to support the reinstatement of Russia’s powers in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) when Moscow moves to get its rights back, a senior legislator from the Federation Council (upper house) said on Monday after a meeting with a French Senate’s commission.
"Our French colleagues spoke very resolutely and jointly against the practice of imposing sanctions against parliamentarians, and said the French delegation will be ready to back the return of the Russian Federal Assembly’s delegation to PACE," Konstantin Kosachev, the head of the upper house’s international affairs committee, stated.
He said, however, that not all representatives of the French delegation to PACE had arrived in Moscow. "It is difficult to see this as a conclusive stance, but the colleagues we have seen today, many of whom are part of the French delegation to PACE, said they will definitely vote for the confirmation of these powers if Russia seeks their return," Kosachev added.
At the time, Russia is not participating in PACE’s activity, its participation suspended after sanctions were slapped on Russian lawmakers in the Parliamentary Assembly in April 2014.
The Russian delegation was stripped of its right to vote, the right to participate in PACE’s governing bodies and in its monitoring missions. On January 12, the head of the State Duma’s international affairs committee, Leonid Slutsky, said Russia would continue to closely cooperate with PACE, but would not attend its plenary sessions and would not participate in the activity of committees this year.
Moscow insists on having all parliamentary sanctions lifted, as well as on amendments to PACE’s regulations giving it the right to strip any national delegation of the right to vote.
Earlier, Slutsky also said the Russian delegation may head to Madrid on March 10 to participate in a session of the PACE Permanent Committee to discuss some possibilities for cooperation and ways to end the impasse between Moscow and Strasbourg.
He said the delegation may include parliamentarians from both houses of parliament. The Duma (lower house) is expected to be represented by Vice Speaker Pyotr Tolstoy and Slutsky.