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Macron’s backing Russia in Council of Europe throws cold water on Russophobes, says MP

In April 2014, Russia’s PACE delegation was stripped of the right to vote, participate in monitoring missions and hold seats on the leadership bodies

STRASBOURG, October 1. /TASS/. Words of support for Russia’s membership in the Council of Europe and its Parliamentary Assembly in a speech of French President Emmanuel Macron at a PACE session have thrown cold water on Russophobic MEPs, the chairman of the International Affairs Committee at the Russian State Duma lower house of parliament, Leonid Slutsky, told reporters on Tuesday.

The French leader "devoted a substantial part of his speech to the return of the Russian delegation to PACE," he stressed. "Macron came fully in support of the decision to reinstate Russia’s membership in the Council of Europe, though with reservations," he said.

"But in any case, this threw cold water on the parliamentarians with anti-Russian sentiment," the politician stressed. "The time is ripe for giving up on the sanctions dictate and restrictive measures, at least against the parliamentarians," he went on to say.

At the same time, Slutsky regretted that in his speech, President Macron failed to avoid what the Russian parliamentarians "are often facing in Strasbourg — infamous double standards."

"This could be heard in his assessment of an exchange of the detainees between Russia and Ukraine, when against the background of his praising the release of Oleg Sentsov nothing was said about an inmate of Poroshenko’s regime — Kirill Vyshinsky," Slutsky noted. Double standards were also applied to "Moscow riots in summer, which the West obstinately regards as a crackdown on peace process, as well as to issues of the settlement in the south-east of Ukraine," he explained.

"We once again heard about ‘the importance of the Minsk agreements for a dialogue with Russia’," he said in comments on Macron’s speech. "But allow me to observe that Moscow is on the same page in the Minsk process with Paris and Berlin — it is a mediator for the settlement of the conflict in Donbass," Slutsky stressed.

"We are not a party [to the conflict]. And it is extremely important to understand this, specifically in the context of talks to pave the way for a new Normandy Format summit," he added.

"It is no less important to comprehend that Kiev must comply with the Minsk agreements — comply instead of sabotaging them. However, Macron’s confidence that Minsk-2 has no alternatives, makes us cautiously optimistic," he summed up.

"I fully support the choice made in favor of letting Russia stay in the Council of Europe, because I am certain that the Russian people are close to European humanism. They were involved in the creation of this humanism themselves," Macron said at the PACE session on Tuesday.

He described Russia as a "fundamentally European country." In his opinion, Russia’s hypothetical pullout from the pan-European organization would entail "the most negative consequences for the peoples [of Europe] and for the protection of their rights."

In April 2014, Russia’s PACE delegation was stripped of the right to vote, participate in monitoring missions and hold seats on the leadership bodies due to events in Ukraine and Crimea’s unification with Russia. On June 26, 2019 PACE members voted for a resolution in support of three key regulatory norms stipulating that the "rights to vote, speak and be represented in the Assembly and its bodies cannot be suspended or revoked or withdrawn in the context of a challenge to or reconsideration of credentials." The next day all powers of the Russian delegation were confirmed in full and without any exemptions. After that the Russian delegates joined the PACE activities as full-fledged participants.