MOSCOW, October 19. /TASS/. The resolution of the systemic crisis in the Council of Europe related to the restriction of the Russian delegation’s rights in the organization’s Parliamentary Assembly has shown that ultimatums and pressure are unacceptable, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told reporters at a news conference on Monday following talks with Secretary General of the Council of Europe Marija Pejcinovic Buric.
According to Russia’s top diplomat, the secretary general’s visit symbolically draws a line under the systemic crisis the Council of Europe was in in 2014-2019 due to illegal actions by some members of its Parliamentary Assembly that contradict the organization’s statute. "Now the situation has changed qualitatively, primarily as a result of the session of the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers held in Helsinki last May. The rights of Russian parliamentarians have been fully restored since then. The main lesson of that situation is that using the language of threats, ultimatums and pressure in the Council of Europe is unacceptable. It is unacceptable to try to violate the key principles, on which the Council of Europe is based and which are enshrined in its Statute," Lavrov stressed.
He noted that Marija Pejcinovic Buric's visit was taking place in the run-up to the 25th anniversary of Russia’s Council of Europe membership. "We will celebrate that date on February 28, 2021. This is probably a good reason to analyze where we are and what tasks we face in the interests of further cooperation between the Council of Europe and the Russian Federation," he said.
The Russian delegation to PACE was stripped of its rights to vote, take part in monitoring missions or make up the PACE leadership institutions in April 2014, following the events in Ukraine and Crimea. In 2015, PACE considered the issue of reinstating the rights of the Russian delegation twice, but the sanctions only got tighter then. In response, the Russian delegation announced that it refused to work in such conditions and since 2016 did not submit an application to confirm its rights. In 2017, Russia froze the payment of its membership fees to the Council of Europe budget.
On June 26, 2019, members of the PACE summer session approved the resolution drafted by a monitoring committee, which confirmed the full powers of the Russian delegation within the organization.