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    Council of Europe Loses Legitimacy With Absence of Russian Lawmakers - Moscow

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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Moscow does not want to suspend its membership in the Council of Europe, which is increasingly losing its legitimacy due to the non-participation of Russian lawmakers in approving the decisions of this parliamentary body, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Wednesday.

    "Since there are no our parliamentarians there, a significant number of the functionaries of the Council of Europe are elected without our participation," Andrei Kelin, director of the Department for European Cooperation at the Russian Foreign Ministry, told Sputnik.

    "If this continues, the Council of Europe will be practically illegitimate in our eyes because we did not take part in its approval. The Council of Europe is already less important for us, for our domestic life," Kelin stressed.

    Kelin added that Russia "would not want to suspend its membership in the Council of Europe," but could be forced to do so if possible anti-Russian measures are taken by the council.

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    This comes as on Tuesday, Secretary General of the Council of Europe Thorbjørn Jagland the Committee of Foreign Ministers of Council of Europe could take action against Moscow by the end of 2019 because of its failure to pay a contribution to the budget, explaining that "there is a rule in the Committee of Ministers that if a member state does not pay contributions for three consecutive years, the committee of ministers must take action"

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