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Moscow not stopping partnership with Council of Europe, says diplomat

Russia is concerned about the system crisis which hit the PACE in 2014, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko said

VERONA, October 25. /TASS/. Russia is not terminating partnership with the Council of Europe (CoE) yet and is ready to support any efforts to restore the equality of rights of all participants of the organization. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko said on the sidelines of the Eurasian Economic Forum, commenting on the results of the session of the Russian Interagency Commission on the CoE Affairs, at which Moscow’s further steps to settle the crisis caused by the PACE measures against the Russian delegation were coordinated.

Russia is concerned about the system crisis in which the PACE found itself in 2014, he said. "It is still not over," the senior diplomat noted. We are ready to support all efforts directed at restoring the equality of rights and obligations [of the member states.] Without it the organization will not be able to work effectively."

"We did not abandon it. However, it is clear to all that this situation cannot continue forever," Grushko concluded.

In April 2014, the Russian delegation in the PACE was deprived of the right to vote due to events in Ukraine and Crimea’s reintegration with Russia. On October 10, 2018, Secretary General of the Council of Europe Thorbjorn Jagland stated that Russia’s rights to be represented in the CoE bodies - the Committee of Ministers and the Parliamentary Assembly - could be suspended from June 2019 due to the regular non-payment of membership dues. Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko stated that Russia will finally determine its position on membership in the CoE until January. Still, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov noted that Russia will withdraw from the Council of Europe itself if its opponents in the organization insist on its exclusion.