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    Delegates at a plenary meeting of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE)

    Russian Lawmaker Suggests Moscow Should Drop Council of Europe Membership

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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The destructiveness of the Council of Europe (CoE) and its entities shows that Russia should suspend its membership of the organization before the expulsion procedure is begun, Leonid Slutsky, the head of the Russian upper house’s Foreign Affairs Committee said Thursday.

    On Wednesday, Thorbjorn Jagland, the secretary general of the Council of Europe, said that the organization might expel Russia if Moscow would not resume payments to its budget.

    "Today's destructiveness of the organization and its entities, including the PACE [the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe], demonstrates that, perhaps, we should ourselves think about suspending or freezing Russia’s membership of the Council of Europe before some anti-Russian daredevils start the cancellation process," Slutsky told reporters.

    The Russian lawmaker commented on Jagland's statement by saying that the Council of Europe was trying to steal a march on Russia in an "ungentlemanlike situation."

    "Jagland makes such statements as a secretary general driven into a corner," Slutsky stated.

    Russia to Decide on Membership in Council of Europe by January

    Moscow will make a final decision on its further participation in the Council of Europe until January 2019, Russian upper house speaker Valentina Matviyenko stated.

    "Russia will make a final decision on further participation in the Council of Europe by January," Matviyenko said.

    The official noted that the decision would depend on the progress in the situation around the Russian delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE).

    "The PACE's discriminating decision on Russia contradicts law and democratic principles," Matviyenko said.

    On October 10, Thorbjorn Jagland, the secretary general of the Council of Europe, said that the organization might expel Russia if Moscow would not resume payments to its budget.

    Since 2016, the Russian delegation at PACE has not been renewing its credentials ahead of the assembly’s sessions in protest of the discrimination within the organization.

    READ MORE: EU Energy System to Collapse if US Sanctions Affect Russian Companies – BP Head

    In June 2017, Moscow froze part of its Council of Europe contribution meant for Russia's PACE membership for 2018, until the Russian delegation's rights in the organization are completely restored.

    On Tuesday, Slutsky said Russia was highly unlikely to resume its work in the PACE the next year in the wake of the postponement of the recent discussion of the amendments to PACE rules on credentials and rights of national delegations.

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    suspension, membership, sanctions, Council of Europe, Leonid Slutsky, EU, Russia
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