MOSCOW, May 29 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's foreign minister said Monday that the Council of Europe's many demands on Russia had a political subtext.
"I would like to confirm that we seriously regard the Council of Europe's monitoring in Russia," Sergei Lavrov told a visiting session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in Moscow. "But we cannot ignore the fact that the volume of commitments that we are requested to assume is much larger than was initially addressed to 'the founding fathers' of the Council of Europe."
"We are not making a problem out of it, but we see a certain political subtext," the minister said.
The minister added that Russia had never refused to fulfill the commitments requested by the Council of Europe, particularly the ratification of the European Convention on Human Rights, which abolishes the death penalty.
"We have to take public opinion into account when considering this issue," Lavrov said.
Russia has not ratified the convention but imposed a moratorium on the death penalty in the country in 1996. European parliamentarians have repeatedly called for Russia to abolish the death penalty.
Last Friday, Nurpashi Kulayev, the sole surviving gunman of a group who took hundreds hostage in the 2004 Beslan school siege, was sentenced to life imprisonment by a Russian court for his role in the atrocity. Prosecutors in the case had wanted the death penalty.
Russia, which marks 10 years in the organization this year, holds the chair of the Committee of Ministers - the Council's executive body - from May 19 to November 15.