20 Countries Reject Russian Return to PACE

Delegates of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) from 20 countries rejected the possible return of Russia to this organization. This statement was received at the TASS office in Paris.

“Any attempt to restore Russia’s participation in the work of the assembly without the implementation of resolutions adopted in response to Russian aggression against Ukraine will undermine the credibility of this organization,” the statement said.

“Such a situation can cause a chain reaction.” Political indulgence or the desire to strengthen the financial situation of the organization should not replace the principles of the rule of law when it comes to the foundations of the Council of Europe, “the authors of the declaration believe.

They “regret that some forces are trying to undermine the authority of the Assembly and the Council of Europe as a whole, while questioning the indisputable nature of the obligations arising from the provisions of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.”

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“We urge all members of the assembly to do everything possible to stop the implementation of such a scenario, to preserve the authority of the PACE and to protect our common values,” the statement of the group of deputies said.

Long-Standing Conflict

The Russian delegation to PACE back in April 2014 was deprived of its basic powers due to the events in Ukraine and the reunification of the Crimea with the Russian Federation. The corresponding decision was made, despite the fact that Russia is one of the five main payers of the Council of Europe.

The chairman of the State Duma Committee for International Affairs, Leonid Slutsky, confirmed that the return of Russians to PACE is inconceivable before the introduction of changes to the regulations of this organization (PACE) that would eliminate attempts to discriminate national delegations.

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Speaking at the plenary meeting of the lower house, he recalled that he had just attended a meeting of the presidential committee of the assembly in Paris. According to Slutsky, the Russian side confirmed that the return of the Russian Federation to full-format work in the PACE is possible only if the organization revises its regulations, making it impossible to discriminate parliamentary delegations directed by national parliaments – in terms of depriving as a voice, and any other authority.

Slutsky underlined that such actions conduct artificial dividing lines, thereby impeding the full role of the Council of Europe in the emerging European architecture of the 21st century.