PARIS, January 11. /TASS/. The Council of Europe supports Russia’s intention to continue consultations with the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) to find a solution to the crisis in their relations, Spokesperson for the Council of Europe Secretary General Daniel Holtgen told TASS on Thursday.
"We would note what Mr Tolstoy has said in TASS, namely that the Russian delegation has been holding and will further hold consultations with PACE deputies after the January session," he said. "We support further consultations with a view to finding a solution," Holtgen added.
Russian State Duma (lower house of parliament) Deputy Speaker Pyotr Tolstoy told TASS earlier that Russia would not send its delegation to the January session of PACE, because amendments aimed at protecting national delegations from discrimination had not been introduced to the Assembly’s regulations. According to him, Russia’s decision to refrain from participating in the plenary meetings of PACE will remain in force until the regulations are changed. "However, we have been holding and will continue to hold consultations on this issue with PACE members in order to make them understand that any kind of discrimination against national delegations mostly damages the organization itself," Tolstoy stressed.
In April 2014, Russia’s delegation to PACE was stripped of its key rights, including the right to vote, over the situation in Ukraine and Crimea’s reunification with Russia. The issue of restoring the rights of the Russian delegation was raised at PACE twice throughout 2015 but sanctions remained in place. In response, Russia suspended its participation in PACE’s activities. The country did not apply for confirmation of its rights in 2016 and 2017.
In June 2017, Moscow suspended the payment of its contribution to the Council of Europe until the Russian delegation’s rights are fully restored. At the same time, Moscow calls for adding a provision to the PACE regulations stipulating that no one could be eligible to deprive national delegations of their rights.