MOSCOW, January 15. /TASS/. The State Duma (the lower house of parliament) Foreign Affairs Committee recommends Russia refrain from sending a delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in 2019, the Committee’s Chairman Leonid Slutsky said on Tuesday.

According to him, “there is no reason to return to PACE.” Slutsky pointed out that PACE had failed to pass amendments removing provisions related to sanctions that make it possible to strip national delegations of their rights. “This could be kind of a turning point for a change in our position,” he stressed.

Russia and PACE

In April 2014, Russia’s delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) was stripped of its key rights, including the right to vote, over the situation in Ukraine and Crimea’s reunification with Russia. The issue of restoring the rights of the Russian delegation was raised at PACE twice throughout 2015 but sanctions remained in place. In response, Russia suspended its participation in PACE’s activities. The country did not apply for confirmation of its rights in 2016-2018.

Moscow suggested PACE’s regulations be amended to ensure that no one could strip lawmakers of their rights except their voters.

Jagland said on October 10, 2018, that Russia’s membership in the organization’s Committee of Ministers and the Parliamentary Assembly might be suspended starting from June 2019 due to non-payment of monetary contributions. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in response that Moscow would quit the Council of Europe if opposing member states called for expelling Russia.

On December 10, 2018, the PACE Committee on Rules of Procedure spoke out against depriving national delegations of their right to take part in electing the organization’s secretary general and judges of the European Court of Human Rights. However, Russian Permanent Representative to the European Union Vladimir Chizhov said that Moscow would not be satisfied with a partial restoration of the Russian delegation’s rights, as it expected the rights to be restored in full. Chizhov added Russia also called for developing rules that would exclude the possibility of such actions in the future.

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