MOSCOW, June 30. /TASS/. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has held a telephone conversation with Secretary General of the Council of Europe Thorbjorn Jagland, informing him about Moscow’s decision to suspend its 2017 payment to the Council, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Friday.
"The minister has informed the secretary general of the Council of Europe about Russia’s decision to suspend its 2017 payment to the Council of Europe until the rights of the Russian Federal Assembly’s delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe are fully restored," the statement reads. Lavrov also "drew Jagland’s attention to the Russian Foreign Ministry’s statement on the matter issued on June 30," the statement adds.
According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, Lavrov and Jagland also discussed issues concerning Russia’s participation in the activities of the Council of Europe, including the ratification of the Council of Europe Convention on Laundering, Search, Seizure and Confiscation of the Proceeds from Crime and on the Financing of Terrorism, as well as of the Convention on an Integrated Safety, Security and Service Approach at Football Matches and Other Sports Events.
"We call on the responsible member-states of the Council of Europe to do their utmost to overcome the crisis in the Assembly together as soon as possible with the aim to achieve more unity between its member-states for the sake of defending and fulfilling the ideals and principles that are their common heritage and contributing to their economic and social progress as envisaged by Article 1 of the Council of Europe’s Charter," the statement said.
In an attempt "to punish" Russia for the free expression of the will by residents of the Crimean peninsula in favor of Crimea’s integration into the Russian Federation, PACE members "restricted the powers of the Russian parliamentary delegation to such an extent" in 2014-2015 "that they made impossible its participation in the Assembly’s work," the statement reads.
‘Since then, the situation at the PACE has only been degrading: a rampant campaign has been launched there to persecute parliamentarians willing to normalize as soon as possible interaction with Russia within the Council of Europe and preserve the infrastructure of pan-European cooperation in compliance with its Charter," the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
"Given this situation, the Russian Federation made a decision to suspend the payment of its contribution to the Council of Europe for 2017 until the unconditional restoration in full of powers of the delegation of the Russian Federal Assembly (parliament) in PACE," the ministry said. Russia continues working in the Council of Europe, including meeting its commitments on conventions.