MOSCOW, May 12. /TASS/. Rationally-thinking members fo the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) hope the Russian delegation will resume its work in January, 2016 and think the political situation by that time will not offer discussions about sanctions against Russian deputies, head of the Russian parliamentary commission on foreign affairs and head of the Russian delegation to PACE Alexey Pushkov said following a meeting between speaker of the Russian parliament Sergey Naryshkin with French senators.
"They discussed modality of our relations with PACE," he said. "The French senators expressed hope in January 2016 Russia would return to PACE." In response to that, the Russian delegation said "the decision PACE made about the sanctions against the Russian delegation is absurd, wrong, and under the conditions that Russia is deprived of the right to participate in voting, meaning an equal-right participation in work of PACE, our delegation cannot go there."
"If this decision is reviewed, we shall return to work," the legislator said.
"PACE members - both France and other countries, like Austria, have been expressing hope the Russian delegation would return before January 2016. But, as we are not returning before January 2016, which is clear now, they are expressing hope now that at least in January 2016 we shall be back, since, as far as I understand, there is a certain vacuum [in PACE]."
A lot depends on Russia from the point of view of the European security, besides Russia is a key country in settlement of the Ukrainian crisis.
"Reasonable people in PACE understand it, too. If they escalate the situation and once again we are not taking part in PACE meetings, the Assembly only will loose from the situation. Those, confident Russia’s participation is to the benefit of PACE authority, stress they hope we are coming back and the progress in implementation of the Minsk agreements will remove from the agenda the issue of sanctions," he said.
Last year, the parliamentary arm of the 47-nation Council of Europe, promoting democracy and human rights across the continent, stripped Russia of voting rights following events in Ukraine.
It suspended both Russia's right to sit on its governing bodies and Russian participation in election observer missions.
Russian parliamentary delegates left the April session before its official completion as a gesture of protest and refused to take part in future PACE activities, staying away from the assembly's summer and autumn sessions.
At the January session, PACE extended its sanctions against Russia’s delegation until April. In response, Moscow severed contact with the group for another year.