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Russian delegation to abstain from PACE’s session in June, says MP

June 03, 2014, 6:34 UTC+3 MOSCOW
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MOSCOW, June 03, /ITAR-TASS/. Russian delegation will not take part in the June session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, as Russia has temporarily suspended cooperation with PACE through to the end of the period of sanctions the assembly imposed on the delegation, Dr. Alexei Pushkov, the chairman of the State Duma foreign policy committee says in an interview published by Izvestia daily.

He recalled that the member of the PACE Presidential Committee, Tiny Kox of the Netherlands who represents the Group of the United European Left, was informed about the decision May 25 as he met in Moscow with the State Duma speaker, Sergei Naryshkin, in Moscow.

Naryshkin also stated this in a letter to PACE President Anne Brasseur. He voiced the readiness to visit Strasbourg and to make a speech there - after the full scope of the Russian delegation’s powers is restored.

“At present, PACE’s top decision-makers are considering a response to Naryshkin’s letter,” Dr. Pushkov said. “Still, as we assess the prospects, we should proceed from the fact the freezing of a part of our delegation’s powers stays in effect through to January 2015 when the powers of all the national delegations are endorsed anew. And even then a part of PACE members may speak in favor of a prolongation of sanctions.”

“But we’re not changing our approach, as we’re confident PACE assumed an unacceptably one-sided position on the Ukrainian issue by claiming the authorities in Kiev are virtuous in all of their actions and Russia is to blame for all of Ukraine’s misfortunes,” Dr. Pushkov said.

“Along with it, the Kiev authorities and (Ukrainian) ultra-nationalists get away with just absolutely anything, be it the massacre in Odessa or the showering of people with bullets in Mariupol or the use of Armed Forces against the (rank-and-file) people of Ukraine,” he says.

April 10, PACE passed a resolution stripping the Russian delegation of the right to vote and expelling it from the governing bodies of the assembly through to the end of 2014 in the light of Crimea’s accession to the Russian Federation. Members of the delegation assessed the moves as unfair and illegitimate.

The entire delegation was absent from the session when its powers were discussed and it left Strasbourg right after the adoption of the document.

Formal absence of the Russian delegation from the PACE session will not change anything and it does not stand in line with Russia’s status of a leading member-nation of the Council of Europe, Dr. Pushkov said, adding: “The worst that PACE could do is to try and isolate Russia because it’ll run the risk of isolating itself from Russia then.

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