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Russian parliament to shortly consider suspending PACE membership

April 14, 2014, 19:00 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Russia could “downgrade the level of participation” through “the number of participants sent and participation only in those events that meet our interest”, senator Ilyas Umakhanov noted
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Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (archive)

Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (archive)

© EPA/RAINER JENSEN

MOSCOW, April 14. /ITAR-TASS/. The State Duma and Federation Council lower and upper houses of the Russian parliament would shortly decide on whether participation of the Russian delegation in PACE activity was expedient, upper house’s deputy speaker Ilyas Umakhanov told a news conference on Monday.

“The parliamentary delegation may suspend its membership as there is no particular reason in being dumb and keep attending sessions of its commissions, committees, plenary sessions to hear them ‘picking you to pieces’,” the senator said.

He said Duma and the Federation Council should coordinate their positions, as Russia had a single delegation. “It will take some time. I believe this decision will be finally reached shortly,” Umakhanov said.

He added that Russia could “downgrade the level of participation” through “the number of participants sent and participation only in those events that meet our interest”.

Umakhanov said the main point at issue at the moment was whether to participate or freeze Russia’s participation in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.

He said a session of the upper house’s international affairs committee had discussed earlier on Monday Russia’s activity in PACE. “One of the proposals is to prepare a statement on behalf of the Federation Council that would voice our approaches. We work on this document,” the deputy speaker said.

Delegates who stripped Russia of the right to vote on the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) may not realize how "far-reaching the consequences of that move could be", a senior international affairs expert told colleagues of the Russian upper house on Monday.

Russia had other platforms for advancing its interests in Europe, Chairman Mikhail Margelov told fellow members of the parliamentary international affairs committee, who noted with regret that PACE, which had been considered a platform for dialogue with European colleagues, had turned "into a rostrum for a monologue and mutual accusations".

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