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Russia’s Absence From PACE Not Sign of Cutting Ties With Council of Europe

© AFP 2023 / Christian LutzGeneral view of the plenary room of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, eastern France
General view of the plenary room of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, eastern France - Sputnik International
Alexei Pushkov, the head of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the lower house of Russia's parliament said that Russia is still represented in the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe at an ambassadorial level and the Russian mission in Strasbourg continues its work as well.

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MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Russia's non-participation in the work of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) does not necessarily mean the cessation of contacts with the body, the head of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the lower house of Russia's parliament said Wednesday.

On Monday, Duma speaker Sergei Naryshkin said the Russian delegation would not participate in the upcoming winter PACE session nor would it present its PACE credentials. The following day, PACE head Anne Brasseur announced that the Russian delegation would not be able to participate in any kind of PACE work in 2016 as it had not presented all the necessary documents.

"This year's non-participation in PACE [work]…does not mean the cessation of our contacts with the Council of Europe," Alexei Pushkov told reporters.

Russia is still represented in the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe at an ambassadorial level and the Russian mission in Strasbourg continues its work as well, he emphasized.

"I am sure that Russia's foreign minister will take part in the relevant activities of the Council of Europe, as he did in 2015," Pushkov noted.

Chairman of the State Duma Committee on International Affairs Alexei Pushkov - Sputnik International
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Moscow is also set to continue its work with the European Court of Human Rights, the lawmaker added.

"It only refers to the suspension of our work in PACE due to the fact that the Assembly is not ready to lift the sanctions against the Russian delegation," Pushkov concluded.

An April 2014 PACE resolution deprived the Russian delegation of its voting rights, following Crimea’s joining Russia. Russian lawmakers were barred from participating in PACE's three key bodies — its bureau, its presidential committee and the standing committee.

The 2014 resolution curbing Russia’s rights in PACE was extended in April 2015, whereas a reconfirmation of the delegation's credentials was scheduled for the winter session.

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