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New PACE president says it is important to maintain dialogue with Russia

Spanish politician Pedro Agramunt replaced Anne Brasseur who led the organization for the past two years

PARIS, January 25. /TASS/. New President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) Pedro Agramunt has said it is important to maintain the dialogue with Russia. He was speaking earlier on Monday following his election to the post of the head of the organization.

"Europe needs reconciliation, because confrontation runs counter to our common interests," Agramunt said. "All of us must show willingness for dialogue and seek solutions together. It is important to maintain the dialogue between Russia and the Council of Europe," he added.

Spanish politician Agramunt replaced Anne Brasseur who led the organization for the past two years.

According to the new PACE president, currently European countries should focus on the unprecedented migrant crisis and the threat of Islamic radicalism.

"Likewise worrisome is the situation in Ukraine where efforts to reach a settlement have failed so far," Agramunt said. He said that efforts of all parties were needed to resolve the conflict, including the government in Kiev, which "should demonstrate readiness for the dialogue for a peaceful settlement in eastern Ukraine."

Russia’s delegation to the PACE was stripped of the right to vote and take part in the PACE charter bodies and monitoring activities in April 2014 over developments in Ukraine and Crimea’s reunification with Russia. In June 2015, a PACE session extended the Russian delegation’s mandate but did not lift the anti-Russian sanctions. In response, the Russian delegation said it suspended its participation in PACE activities till the end of 2015. The leaders of the Russian delegation have repeatedly said Russia would be back in PACE after all the sanctions against it were lifted.