PARIS, December 14. /TASS/. Russia is unlikely to file an application for taking part in the work of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) in 2018, a senior Russian lawmaker said on Thursday after a meeting of the PACE Presidential Committee.
"A decision on whether or not to apply for participation in PACE’s work is Russia’s sovereign right. No one can take it for us. It will be passed by both houses of Russia’s parliament, I think, in January ," said Konstantin Kosachev, chairman of the international committee of Russia’s Federation Council upper parliament house.
According to Kosachev, this decision is to be taken before PACE’s January session. However, bearing in mind the Assembly’s non-readiness for compromises concerning amendments to its regulations the Russian side is insisting on the Russian parliament’s decision is likely to be negative, he noted. "Let us wait and see. But if nothing happens before the January session [at PACE], and the chance is next to nil as far as amendments to the regulations are concerned, the possibility of Russia’s applying for participation [in2018] is also tending to zero," he stressed.
Russia and PACE
In April 2014, the Russian delegation to PACE was stripped of key rights, including the right to vote and take part in the assembly’s governing bodies, following the developments 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: Russia is deprived of the right to vote and cannot take part in the Assembly’s governing bodies and elections monitoring missions. In response, Russia suspended its participation in the PACE activities till the end of 2015. In 2016-2017, Russia skipped PACE meetings due to the ongoing sanctions.
In late June, Russia said it was suspending payment of its contribution to the Council of Europe over its non-participation in PACE. Concurrently, it suggested PACE’s regulations be amended to ensure that no one could deprive the lawmakers of their rights but for their voters.