PARIS, June 14. /TASS/. Russia has come close to resuming activities in all the bodies of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) in 2019, First Deputy Speaker of the Russian Federation Council (the upper house of parliament) Nikolai Fyodorov said at a press conference on the sidelines of the 20th meeting of the Association of European Senates in Paris.
"We are cautiously optimistic about the possibility of our return [to PACE]," he said in response to a TASS question. "Thanks to the active position of the French parliament, the French Senate and the Senate president - I have already thanked him - I can say that we have come close to resuming activities in all of PACE’s bodies this year," Fyodorov added.
He also said that "the establishment is interested in removing all obstacles preventing Russia’s participation in the Assembly’s activities."
Russia and the Council of Europe
Russia’s delegation to PACE was stripped of its key rights, including the right to vote, over the situation in Ukraine and Crimea’s reunification with Russia in April 2014. In response, Russia suspended its participation in PACE’s activities and the payment of its contribution to the Council of Europe.
In April 2019, PACE members adopted a resolution on the role and mission of the Assembly, which, in part, mentions the need to maintain Russia’s Council of Europe membership and calls on Moscow to form a delegation to PACE and pay membership dues. The resolution says that PACE’s sanctions against the Russian delegation following Crimea’s reunification with Russia and the country’s subsequent decision to terminate participation in the Assembly’s activities caused discord within the organization. The Russian Foreign Ministry said later that Moscow would welcome the participation of all national delegations in the PACE session on June 26-28.