MOSCOW, September 7. /TASS/. Speaker of Russia’s State Duma (lower house of parliament) Sergei Naryshkin has pointed to "good" progress in the dialogue with the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) after a meeting with its speaker, Pedro Agramunt.
He noted that during the meeting (the two sides) discussed the proposals on reforming the work of the PACE put forward by Russia. "I believe good, constructive progress was made during this meeting," Naryshkin said.
He also thanked Agramunt for the conversation, adding that he appreciated the fact that his meetings with PACE senior officials became regular.
Naryshkin has suggested that the PACE return to Moscow’s proposals to reorganize the assembly's work.
"For our common success, we suggest returning to the proposals we outlined earlier, which relate to the organization of the work of the Parliamentary Assembly," Naryshkin told a press briefing following meeting with the PACE delegation led by its President, Pedro Agramunt.
"Firstly, it should not be so that for some reasons any parliamentary delegation of a country is stripped of its powers, part of its powers and rights," Naryshkin said. He noted that the rights of any parliamentary delegation, any member of a parliamentary delegation stem from the nature of the parliamentary mandate every lawmaker receives from his voters in his country. "The existing procedures, which make it possible to strip a certain parliamentary delegation of part of its powers, contradict the basic principle of equality," he noted.
"Secondly, we suggest abandoning the so-called country monitoring privilege. All countries that form part of the Council of Europe have equal rights, so monitoring should by equal in relation to all countries," he underscored. "It may by thematic, situational, but not country-focused - in relation to some group of countries," Naryshkin said.
"Thirdly, it’s a paradoxical situation in which one or another document, a PACE resolution, is passed by the majority of those present at a given moment in the meeting hall of the Council of Europe, but by the minority in relation to all the Council of Europe members. This, of course, calls into question the legitimacy of the documents adopted by the Parliamentary Assembly," he added.
According to Naryshkin, these three proposals were discussed extensively. "I believe good, constructive progress was made during this meeting," Naryshkin said.
Russia’s full-fledged participation in Assembly’s activity
According to Naryshkin, the PACE leadership has said it expects Russia’s delegation to resume its work in a full format.
"We have once again heard a statement of the PACE chiefs that the PACE leadership wants Russia’s delegation to resume full-format work," Naryshkin noted.
Senior Russian MP Alexei Pushkov has confirmed that the PACE delegation wanted Russia's full-fledged participation in the organization’s activity.
"The delegation seeks the resumption of dialogue and the restoration of full-fledged participation of Russia’s delegation in the activity of the Parliamentary Assembly," Pushkov, who heads the State Duma foreign affairs committee, said after the meeting.
Stripping delegations of rights contradicts equality principle
Sergei Naryshkin has stressed the practice of stripping delegations of rights is against the principle of equality.
"It should not be so that due to some reasons any parliamentary delegation of a country is deprived of its powers, part of powers and rights," Naryshkin told reporters.
Practice of country monitoring
The state Duma speaker has also called to abandon the practice of country monitoring.
"We are suggesting giving up the so-called privilege, the so-called country monitoring," the lawmaker said.
"All countries making part of the Council of Europe have equal rights, so monitoring should by equal in relation to all countries," he underscored. "It may by thematic, situational, but not country-focused - in relation to some group of countries."