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Russian commission agrees steps to resolve crisis in relations with Council of Europe

MOSCOW, October 23. /TASS/. Russia’s commission for the affairs of the Council of Europe that is chaired by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has agreed a roadmap for settling the crisis in the relations between Russia and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), the Russian foreign ministry said on Tuesday.

"The commission discussed the current state of and prospects for further development of Russia’s relations with the Council of Europe in the context of the systemic crisis in the organizations statutory bodies triggered by the illegal discriminatory measures taken by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe against the Russian delegation," the ministry said. "The commission agreed Russia’s further steps to resolve the crisis situation on the basis on the observance of the Council of Europe’s Charter by all of its member states."

Russia and PACE

In April 2014, the Russian delegation to PACE was stripped of key rights, including the right to vote and take part in the assembly’s governing bodies, following the developments 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 the sanctions are still in place: Russia is deprived of the right to vote and cannot take part in the Assembly’s governing bodies and elections of monitoring missions. In response, Russia suspended its participation in the PACE activities till the end of 2015. In 2016-2017, Russia skipped PACE meetings due to the ongoing sanctions.

In late June 2017, Russia said it was suspending payment of its contribution 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 deprive the lawmakers of their rights but for their voters.

In January 2018, Russia refrained from applying for confirmation of its rights for 2018.