LONDON, June 26. /TASS/. British parliamentarians’ refusal to support the restoration of the rights of the Russian delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) deliberately violates the principle of sovereign equality of states, a spokesman for Russian Embassy in London told TASS on Wednesday.
He was commenting on the fact that the majority of the UK delegation members voted against the resolution allowing Russian parliamentarians to take part in the June session of PACE.
"By their actions, the British parliamentarians joined the destructive attempts of a number of states to ‘punish’ our country for the free choice of the Crimean people to become part of Russia," the diplomat noted. He added that British parliamentarians continue to ignore well-founded criticism by Russia of the Assembly’s practice of suspending the rights of parliamentary representatives of PACE members, which contradicts the Council of Europe’s Statute.
"In a broader sense, voting against the resolution also means that our British partners deliberately disregard the principle of sovereign equality of states, which lies at the basis of international law," he said.
According to the spokesman, this unfriendly step was taken against the backdrop of statements made by officials in London in favor of preventing Russia’s withdrawal from the Council of Europe.
At the same time, the results of the vote "show that the UK policy on excluding Russia from participation in the Assembly does not enjoy broad support among the Member States." "As we have witnessed, the majority of international parliamentarians share the view that without Russia it is impossible to overcome the Council of Europe's systemic crisis," the diplomat stressed.
Russia and PACE
In April 2014, Russia’s delegation to PACE was stripped of its fundamental rights, including the right to vote, over the developments in Ukraine and Crimea’s reunification with Russia. In response, Moscow suspended its participation in PACE’s activities and the payment of its contribution to the Council of Europe.
In April 2019, PACE members approved a resolution on the role and mission of the Assembly, which specifically pointed to the need to maintain Russia’s Council of Europe membership and called on Moscow to form a delegation to PACE and pay membership dues. The Council of Europe’s ministerial meeting held in Helsinki on May 16-17 adopted a statement, which said that all member states had to take part in the work of the Committee of Ministers and the Parliamentary Assembly on an equal basis.