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    Sergei Naryshkin

    Russia to Suspend Work in PACE if Deprived of Voting Rights

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    Russia's State Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin stated that Russia would suspend its work in the PACE and would be forced to raise the issue of its membership in the Council of Europe if the country wass deprived of its voting rights.

    MOSCOW, January 22 (Sputnik) – Russia will completely suspend its work in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) if the country is deprived of its voting rights, Russia's State Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin told the Kommersant newspaper.

    “We appreciate the Parliamentary Assembly, the Council of Europe, first of all, as a platform for an open dialogue on urgent issues. But if we are deprived of the possibility to carry on this open dialogue in the future, then why should we appreciate this organization?” Narushkin said in an interview to be published on Thursday.

    “The question then arises, regarding the suspension of our work in PACE for at least one year,” Naryshkin added.

    The Russian lawmaker also said that should Russia's voting rights be suspended the delegation will be forced to raise the issue of its membership in the Council of Europe. According to Naryshkin, the suspension of work in PACE would not mean Russia's refusal to pay Council of Europe membership fee. "No, we are not raising this question. We are a member of Council of Europe, and as such fulfill all of our obligations, including financial ones," Naryshkin stated, adding that he believed Russia had already paid the 2015 fee in 2014.

    The interview comes ahead of the PACE winter session which is to take place in Strasbourg on January 26-30. Naryshkin was invited to take part in the Strasbourg session by PACE President Anne Brasseur.

    In April 2014, PACE suspended the Russian delegation's voting rights after Crimea's March 2014 reunification with Russia. In protest, the Russian delegation walked out of the assembly's spring session and did not attend the summer session.

    Earlier in January, media reports suggested that the Netherlands had prepared a draft resolution on debarring Russia from voting in the PACE for one more year. However, members of the Dutch delegation to PACE told Sputnik they were are unaware of the reported preparation of a draft resolution suspending Russia's voting rights until 2016.

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    PACE, Council of Europe, Sergei Naryshkin, Russia
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