MOSCOW (Sputnik) — All 47 members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) should be part of the Assembly, including Russia, PACE President Pedro Agramunt said Thursday.
"I am the chair of the Assembly that represents 47 members, not 46, and I want the Assembly to be full-fledged… The absence of one of them [Russia] prevents us from saying that we present all the continent," Agramunt said at the Gaidar Forum.
Europe, particularly PACE, cannot conduct a successful anti-terrorism fight without Russia, Agramunt said.
"Europe and the world counter the whole range of challenges and no country can do it on its own. No matter all our differences we seek the same aims… without Russia we cannot fight terrorism, we cannot defeat it, we have to cooperate," he said.
Russia Unlikely to Present Credentials to PACE in January
Russia is unlikely to present its credentials during the upcoming session of PACE, Agramunt said.
"We have a very grave issue. As you know, a range of rights have been taken from Russia, the right of vote in this or that divisions of the Assembly and Russia has decided not to participate in the work of the Council of Europe," Agramunt said.
"Since that, we have no Russian representative in PACE, this situation is likely to repeat itself in January. We have 47 members, but we know that Russia is unlikely to present its credentials for the participation, because its [full-fledged] participation is being debated by several members of the Assembly," he said.
Following the meeting with with Russian lower house speaker Vyacheslav Volodin, Argamunt noted that credentials of the Russian delegation in the PACE were not likely to be renewed in January.
"We had a rather difficult and constructive meeting. Unfortunately, the situation with participation of the Russian delegation in PACE is complicated. It is most probable that the credentials of the Russian delegation will not be confirmed by the end of this month," Agramunt said after the meeting.
PACE to Cooperate With Russia in Other Spheres in 2017
PACE will look for other opportunities to cooperate with Russia outside the Assembly in 2017, Agramunt said.
"We hope to use the whole range of opportunities, even if [Russia] doesn't present credentials for participation in the Parliamentary Assembly. Among the bad news, Russian representatives will probably not be present early this year, but we will look for solutions later this year," Agramunt said.
"The good news is that we will maintain dialogue, ties and our discussions at different events throughout this year in European countries," he said.
Russia did not renew its credentials ahead of the Assembly’s 2016 winter session and made its return conditional on the full restoration of its delegates' voting rights.
Never miss a story again — sign up to our Telegram channel and we'll keep you up to speed!