MOSCOW, January 23. /TASS/. Russia will refuse to cooperate with the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) for another year if the group extends its sanctions against Russia's delegation, Alexey Pushkov, delegation head and chairman of the State Duma's lower house Foreign Affairs Committee, said on Friday.
“We will refrain from any forms of interaction with PACE until the end of 2015,” Pushkov told journalists.
The parliamentarian denied allegations that the Russian delegation was heading to a PACE session, scheduled for next week, “to make peace” with the group.
“We are not going to make peace with those trying to force Russia out of the Council of Europe,” he said. “We are going there since we are full-fledged members of the assembly and we have no reason not to attend the session.”
The delegation also wanted to join the group’s session “to reiterate its position,” Pushkov said, noting that most PACE members last year tilted in favour of geopolitics supporting Ukrainian authorities in Kiev. “We want to fight this policy. And we have allies,” he said.
State Duma Speaker Sergey Naryshkin said on Wednesday that Russia could raise the issue of suspending its activity in PACE at least for one year if it was stripped of the voting rights again.
“We appreciate the Parliamentary Assembly, the Council of Europe in the first place, as a major international discussion site very suitable for an open dialogue on crucial issues. But if we are denied a chance to conduct such an open dialogue, what is it we should appreciate this organization for?" Naryshkin asked in a Kommersant daily interview.
"Then the question will arise of suspending our PACE activities at least for one year. And if a different decision fails to be taken during this year, then the question will be brought up of Russia’s further membership of the Council of Europe.”