STRASBOURG, January 28. /TASS/. Russia is suspending its participation in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) till the end of the year, Russian delegation head Alexei Pushkov said after PACE had decided to strip Russia of the right to vote and take part in the Assembly’s governing bodies until April 2015.
"I would like to stress that until today Russia has never admitted a possibility of quitting the Council of Europe, but PACE’s decision puts such a possibility on the agenda," he said, adding that "the issue of Russia’s participation in the Council of Europe will be considered at the end of 2015 depending on the political situation."
Commenting on PACE’s repeated stripping the Russian delegation of the right to vote, Pushkov said that in response Russia was suspending its participation till the end of 2015.
"There is nothing unexpected here," he said.
"PACE is free to tackle those issues it wants without cooperating with Russia. It will have to access to Russia at the observer mission level. All our previous proposals on contacts, including on the fate of /Ukrainian female pilot Nadezhda/ Savchenko are revoked," he said.
"We warned our colleagues, the PACE governing bodies, leaders of political groups that should Russia be deprived of basic rights, the Russian delegation will suspend its participation at least till the end of 2015," he said.
Pushkov said it did not matter if the Russian delegation’s right were suspended till April of till June, as has been initially planned.
"We are leaving the Parliamentary Assembly till the end of this year. We congratulate the Parliamentary Assembly on passing this wrong, to my mind, decision which harms seriously the common European inter-parliamentary dialogue and drives PACE off this dialogue, since the absence of the Russian delegation makes a void exercise of any debates within the organization," Pushkov said.
In his words, PACE’s decision only enhances the role of other organizations, such as the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
"The role of other organizations that include the Russian Federation and that have no institution of sanctions will grow significantly. We plan to concentrate of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly," he said