STRASBOURG/France/, January 28. /TASS/. Belgian MP Rik Daems, who was elected on Monday as the new president of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), plans to visit Russia before his mandate ends, he said in his first interview with Russian media after assuming office.
"I absolutely want to visit all 47 parliaments, so I hope I will also be able to come to Russia. I even would be very happy to address the Duma and have some opinions in there, we’ll see. I would love to do that before my mandate ends," Daems said, noting that he had visited Moscow many times.
In comment on the Russian delegation’s return to PACE, Daems maintained a neutral stance, saying: "The Council of Europe is constituted of 47 countries and Russia is an important country such as the other 46 are. So to me it is obvious that all 47 [countries] should be represented." "We’ve got some rules in the Assembly. If people want to use these rules they are allowed to do so," he said.
Besides Russia, during this session the rights of other delegations are also challenged, namely those of Switzerland, Portugal, San Marino, Poland, Moldova and Spain, Daems noted. "It’s the first time we’ve got all the delegations in there, it is also the first time we’ve got so many challenges of credentials, well let’s see what happens with it. It’s democracy and the rules are there, so they can use them," he said.
In April 2014, Russia’s delegation to PACE was stripped of its right to vote, take part in monitoring missions and be a member of ruling bodies amid the events in Ukraine and Crimea’s reunification with Russia. On June 26, 2019 parties at the PACE session endorsed a resolution stating that "the members’ rights to vote, to speak and to be represented in the Assembly and its bodies shall not be suspended or withdrawn in the context of a challenge to or reconsideration of credentials."
The next day, all Russian delegation’s powers were confirmed in full and the Russian lawmakers resumed their full-fledged work at PACE.
The Russian delegation’s return came amid the discussion on a new mechanism on enforcing the compliance with the Council of Europe’s Charter or a trilateral mechanism stipulating that sanctions can be introduced against the states violating this Charter, up to their withdrawal. On Wednesday, a vote is due to be held on a draft resolution on this mechanism, in particular, the process of initiating it at PACE.