MOSCOW, January 15. /TASS/. Vice Speaker of Russia’s State Duma (lower house of parliament) Pyotr Tolstoy has said that Moscow’s stance will remain unchanged and it will not pay its contribution to the Council of Europe in 2019.
"PACE will not receive Russia’s payment. Russia will not buy tickets for the movie, which it does not watch," he told reporters on Tuesday, when asked about the effects of not applying for the Russian delegation’s participation in the work of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) in 2019.
After consultations with President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe Liliane Maury Pasquier in Geneva, he said.
"I believe that we should not create a delegation and send it to confirm the authorities," he said at a session of the State Duma Committee for Foreign Affairs on Tuesday.
Tolstoi pointed out that Pasquier valued as a great achievement the supposed amendments to the Rules of Procedure, which ban the partial deprivation of the delegations’ voting rights at voting for the candidacies of judges from the European Court of Human Rights, the secretary general of the Council of Europe and the CoE commissioner for human rights. "[Chairman of the Federation Council’s Committee for Foreign Affairs Konstantin] Kosachyov and I said that we will not put up with this situation and we will not play these games. The vote is single and indivisible," the deputy speaker stressed. "This situation is counter-productive," he said.
Consultations with the PACE
On January 9, Tolstoi reported that the State Duma received a letter from PACE Secretary General Wojciech Sawicki to send the Russian delegation to a winter session of the assembly which opens on January 21 in Strasbourg. Chairman of the State Duma’s Committee for Foreign Affairs Leonid Slutsky added that in this regard a decision was made to extend consultations involving the Russian Foreign Ministry, senators and representatives for all factions to develop a consolidated position on Russia’s further participation in the PACE’s operation.
On January 14, State Duma Deputy Speaker Pyotr Tolstoi and Chairman of the Federation Council Committee for Foreign Affairs Konstantin Kosachyov met with PACE President Liliane Maury Pasquier. Tolstoi told TASS that the dialogue was frank and the speakers of the two chambers of the Russian parliament were informed on its contents. He noted that "frank and substantial consultations with the PACE representative were held on the situation in the Assembly and in relations between Russia and the Council of Europe in general."
First Deputy Speaker of the State Duma Ivan Melnikov told journalists on Monday that the State Duma intends to study the draft statement of the chamber on the participation of Russia’s delegation in the PACE session in 2019 at a parliamentary session on January 17.