STRASBOURG, May 27. /TASS/. Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia has expressed the hope that Russia and Europe will turn "the page of misunderstanding."
"The conversation [with Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjorn Jagland] today was positive and substantial. <…> I don’t want to go into detail, because this is a political issue. I try to avoid such comments, but I do hope that Russia will take its place in the Council of Europe and will continue to cooperate with everyone," he told reporters on Monday summing up the results of his visit to Strasbourg.
The patriarch added that the Council of Europe’s decisions were important for ordinary people living in Europe as well. "I hope that everything will resume its natural course, and this page of misunderstanding will be turned," he added.
The primate of the Russian Orthodox Church arrived in France on a visit on May 25. On Sunday, May 26, he performed the rite of great consecration of the Church of All Saints in Strasbourg.
Russia and PACE
In April 2014, the Russian delegation to PACE was stripped of its key rights, including the right to vote and take part in the assembly’s governing bodies, over the developments in Ukraine and Crimea. The issue of restoring the Russian delegation’s rights was raised at PACE twice in 2015, but instead the sanctions were only tightened.
In 2016-2018, Russia skipped the parliamentary assembly’s meetings due to the ongoing sanctions and did not renew its credentials in the wake of anti-Russian sentiment in Strasbourg.
On 10 October 2018, Secretary General of the Council of Europe Thorbjorn Jagland told the PACE autumn session that the organization's Committee of Ministers will have to expel Russia from the Council’s decision-making bodies - the Committee of Ministers and the Parliamentary Assembly - if the country does not make any monetary contributions. In response, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov pointed out that Russia would quit the Council of Europe in case opponents at the council insist on its expulsion.
The PACE summer session, during which the Council of Europe's Secretary General is to be elected, will be held in Strasbourg on June 24-28.