MOSCOW, October 22. /TASS/. Virtually, the entire parliamentary community is aware of the fact that the path chosen by the aggressive minority in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) is a dead end, Chairman of the Russian Federation Council’s (upper house of parliament) Foreign Affairs Committee Konstantin Kosachev said on Monday.
"Of course, we are bound to raise the crisis in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe with our European counterparts. The fact that the path chosen by the aggressive minority, who are actually holding PACE hostage to their political games, is a blind alley that’s currently obvious not only to the Russian delegation, but also to the entire parliamentary community (with a small and unconstructive exception)," Kosachev wrote on his Facebook page, summing up the outcome of the 139th session of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) held in Geneva last week.
He noted that a boomerang effect was noticeable, and "now European colleagues, with perseverance worthy of a better cause, are trying to persuade Russia to return, realizing that PACE is sliding into the abyss of non-existence."
"Our stance has remained consistent and clear, that is, (we) seek to exclude from the regulations the very possibility of stripping any delegation of its powers. It should be noted that this is impossible at the IPU now, since no one would even think about this on that platform," Kosachev stressed.
He also recalled "the first ever formal decision by the global inter-parliamentary organization," directed against political sanctions against legislators. The Inter-Parliamentary Union’s Governing Council earlier unanimously opposed the use of sanctions against lawmakers legitimately representing their national parliaments.
Russia and PACE
In April 2014, the Russian delegation to PACE was stripped of its key rights, including the right to vote and take part in the assembly’s governing bodies, in the wake of developments in Ukraine and Crimea. The issue of restoring the rights of the Russian delegation was raised at PACE twice in 2015, but the sanctions are still in place. Russia has been deprived of the right to vote and cannot take part in the assembly’s governing bodies and election monitoring missions. In response, Russia suspended its participation in PACE’s activities until the end of 2015. In 2016-2017, Russia skipped the parliamentary assembly’s meetings due to the ongoing sanctions.
In late June 2017, Russia said it was suspending its monetary contributions to the Council of Europe over its non-participation in PACE. Concurrently, it suggested PACE’s regulations be amended to ensure that no one could strip lawmakers of their rights except their voters.
Secretary General of the Council of Europe Thorbjorn Jagland told the PACE autumn session on October 10 that the organization's Committee of Ministers will have to expel Russia from the Council of Europe if the country does not make any monetary contributions.