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    General view of the plenary room of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, eastern France

    PACE Officially Invites Russian Delegation to Take Part in June Session

    © AFP 2019 / Christian Lutz
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    STRASBOURG (Sputnik) - The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) officially invited the Russian delegation to participate in the June session, but the possibility of challenging the Russian delegation's credentials remains in place, a relevant resolution passed on Tuesday revealed.

    The resolution on credentials and voting at PACE was passed by the PACE, by 118 votes to 62, with 10 abstentions.

    "Taking into consideration the [Council of Europe] Committee of Ministers’ decision in Helsinki, as well as the exceptional context which led to it, the Assembly decides ... to invite the parliaments of Council of Europe member States which are not represented by a delegation to the Assembly to present the credentials of their representatives and substitutes at the June 2019 part-session of the Assembly. These credentials shall be submitted to the Assembly for ratification at the next sitting following their transmission," the document said.

    At the same time, the resolution has provisions concerning the possibility of challenging the credentials of a delegation.

    PACE has decided that its members’ "rights to vote, to speak and to be represented in the Assembly and its bodies shall not be suspended or withdrawn in the context of a challenge to or reconsideration of credentials," the document also said.

    Out of the 222 amendments submitted by the Ukrainian, UK and Georgian delegations to the resolution, only one was adopted.

    The Russian delegation is submitting an application to confirm its credentials at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the head of the delegation and the deputy speaker of the Russian lower chamber, Pyotr Tolstoy, said later.

    In April 2014, Russia was stripped of its voting rights in PACE in the wake of the Ukrainian crisis and aftermath of the Crimea referendum. Since 2016, the Russian delegation has not been renewing its credentials ahead of the assembly's sessions in protest of the discrimination it faces within the organization. The country has also frozen its contributions to the Council of Europe, pledging to withhold future payments until such time as the Russian delegation’s rights are restored.

    Last week, speaker of Russian parliament's lower house Vyacheslav Volodin said that his country insisted its powers in PACE must be fully reinstated by June 26, which is when the new secretary general of the Council of Europe will be elected.

    According to Volodin, if the report by Belgium's Petra de Sutter with recommendations of the Rules Committee on delegations' powers in PACE is adopted on June 24 without exemptions, exactly the way it has been prepared, Russia will be able to apply for participation by the end of the day.

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    delegation, Russia, PACE
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