MOSCOW, June 13. /TASS/. Russia’s delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) will not put up with the slightest restrictions and will quit the session in case of any, chairman of the Russian State Duma's International Affairs Committee Leonid Slutsky said on Thursday.
Slutsky said that the Russian delegation is ready to be back at PACE if the latter "passes a resolution supplementing the rules of procedure with a ban on stripping national delegations of the right to vote, speech and participation in the assembly’s key structures."
"As soon as its draft with all the corresponding amendments is voted on, Russia is 99.99% sure to apply for reinstatement with PACE from June 25," he stressed.
"But if our rights are once again revised, once PACE panders to the Russophobic minority again and decides to continue its sanction games, we will quit the session and leave Strasbourg," he said. "The Russian delegation will not stay at the Assembly if a report on our rights has the slightest hint at restrictions, whatever they might be," he concluded.
Russia and PACE
The Russian delegation to PACE was stripped of the rights to vote, take part in monitoring missions and be elected to PACE executive bodies in April 2014 following the developments in Ukraine and Crimea’s reunification with Russia. In response, Russia refused to take part in the Assembly’s work and pay contributions to the Council of Europe.
Secretary General of the Council of Europe Thorbjorn Jagland said in October 2018 that Russia could be expelled from the Council of Europe from June 2019 if the country did not make any monetary contributions.
In April 2019, PACE passed a resolution stressing the necessity of Russia’s staying in the Council of Europe and calling on Moscow to send a delegation to PACE.
After a Council of Europe’s ministerial meeting on May 16-17, 2019, the Committee of Ministers issued a statement saying that all the Council of Europe’s member nations should enjoy equal possibilities in terms of participation in its executive bodies. The foreign ministers also said they would want to see all the member states’ delegations at PACE’s June session which was to elect the secretary general and judges of the European Court of Human Rights.