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MOSCOW, September 14. /TASS/. Moscow has no plans to withdraw from the Council of Europe, despite the situation in the Council’s Parliamentary Assembly, Chairman of the Russian State Duma (lower house of parliament) Committee for International Affairs Leonid Slutsky told reporters on Thursday.
"Taking into consideration the double standards that PACE [the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe - TASS] exercises, Russia’s delegation has stopped its activities in the Assembly," he pointed out. "This is the reason why we made a decision to freeze the remaining part of our 2017 contribution," Slutsky added. "However, Russia still remains a member of the Council of Europe and has no plans to withdraw, as it continues activities in all other institutions of the Council," the senior Russian MP noted.
Being a Council of Europe member, Russia falls into the jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) and continues to cooperate with the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Slutsky added.
In late June, Moscow suspended the payment of its 2017 contribution to the Council of Europe until the Russian delegation’s rights are fully restored. Russia also urged member states to make every effort to overcome crisis in PACE. At the same time, Moscow suggested that a provision be included in the PACE regulations saying that no one has a right to deprive PACE members of their powers, except for their voters.
In April 2014, Russia’s delegation to PACE was stripped of its key rights, including the right to vote and take part in the assembly’s governing bodies, over the situation in Ukraine and Crimea’s reunification with Russia. The issue of restoring the rights of the Russian delegation was raised at PACE twice throughout 2015 but the sanctions are still in place. In response, Russia suspended its participation in the PACE. Russia refrained from applying for confirmation of its rights for 2016.
In early 2017, Slutsky said that Russia would continue close cooperation with PACE, but would not participate in its plenary meetings and the activities of its committees in 2017.