ST. PETERSBURG, October 23. /TASS/. It’s time for deescalating tensions in relations between Russia and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) due to such serious problems as the Syrian and Ukrainian crises, Secretary General of the Council of Europe Thorbjorn Jagland told reporters on Friday.
He said that in his view, the time has come to deescalate the tensions, because today the world has to deal with such serious problems and conflicts as in Syria, Ukraine, and also the refugee crisis. He said that in his view, it is necessary to unite all the efforts today to remove the wall separating the sides and try to find a solution together. Asked about Russia’s possible return to PACE, Jagland said it was his personal political viewpoint.
The PACE deprived the Russian delegation of the right to vote and take part in the PACE charter bodies and monitoring activities in April 2014 following Crimea’s reunification with Russia. In June 2015, a PACE session extended the Russian delegation’s mandate but did not lift the anti-Russian sanctions. PACE President Anne Brasseur the issue of the Russian delegation’s competences would be discussed in January 2016. The Russian delegation has been skipping PACE sessions in protest against the sanctions.
On Monday, speaker of Russia’s State Duma (lower parliament house) Sergey Naryshkin said that Russia would resume its representation in PACE only when the Russian delegation is granted back all of its rights, and first of all, the right to vote. "The Russian delegation should be granted legal rights, first of all, the right to vote," he said on the sidelines of the session of the Inter-Parliamentary Union in Switzerland’s Geneva. "If the aggressive [anti-Russian] minority doesn’t want to refill the PACE atmosphere with the spirit of democracy, let them have all their sessions and discussions without us," Naryshkin stressed.