03:10 GMT09 July 2020
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Russia may return to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) if the parliamentary body adopts a draft resolution on credentials and voting rights during the first day of its plenary session in June, Russian senior lawmaker Leonid Slutsky told reporters on Monday.

    "If PACE adopts a report on credentials by Petra De Sutter with recommendations from the procedures committee on the first day of its session on 24 June, the delegation of Russia may return to the assembly", Slutsky said.

    Earlier in the day, the PACE Committee on Rules of Procedure adopted a draft resolution paving the way for Russia's participation in the next PACE session. The resolution, which is part of a report by Belgian lawmaker Petra De Sutter, is scheduled for debate at the PACE plenary session on 24 June.

    READ MORE: Senior Russian Lawmaker Says Russian Delegation May Attend PACE Session in June

    Relations between Russia and the Council of Europe, particularly its parliamentary body, worsened after PACE deprived the Russian delegation of the right to vote in the wake of Crimea’s reunification with Russia in 2014.

    In 2015, PACE considered restoring the rights of the Russian delegation twice, but sanctions against it were only made stricter. Since 2016, the Russian delegation in PACE has stopped renewing its credentials ahead of assembly sessions in protest of what they call discrimination. Tensions escalated further when Moscow announced that it had cancelled part of its annual payment to the Council of Europe for 2017, demanding that the rights of Russian delegation be restored.

    In October 2018, European Council's Secretary General Thorbjorn Jagland announced that Russia would face expulsion from the council if it did not pay its contributions for two years, in accordance with to the organization's charter.

    In April, PACE members adopted a resolution urging Russia to form a delegation, pay its membership fees and return to the assembly. Moscow, however, has demanded guarantees that it will be granted the right to vote before it returns.

    READ MORE: Moscow Will Ignore Payments to PACE Unless Russia's Stance Reinstated — Lawmaker


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    credentials, reinstatement, rights, PACE, Leonid Slutsky, EU, Russia
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