13:12 GMT +317 December 2018
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    Delegates at a plenary meeting of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE)

    Spanish Lawmaker Urges to Bring Russia Back to PACE

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    Russia should be able to communicate freely with other members of the Council of Europe, a Spanish lawmaker at the Council's Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) told Sputnik in Strasbourg, France.

    STRASBOURG (Sputnik), Daria Chernyshova PACE stripped Russia of its accreditation last April in response to Crimea's reunification with Russia and the start of the Ukraine crisis, prompting the Russian delegation to quit. Europe also imposed travel bans on several Russian lawmakers.

    "My idea is that Russia can work here in the Council of Europe normally with other countries, because it is more important that you can speak to the Russian MPs about different topics," Arcadio Diaz Tejera told Sputnik.

    The parliamentarian stressed that the Assembly is a meeting place which provides an opportunity for contradictory points of view to meet and to be discussed.

    "The Council of Europe is a meeting point between different cultures, different juridical and political cultures," he pointed out.

    The Spanish senator from the Socialist Group added he hoped that the European Union will eventually lift sanctions against members of the Russian parliament, as "MPs need to be free to express their opinion."

    At a January 2015 session, the Assembly voted to prolong restrictions against Russia, saying its delegation could have the voting powers back if Russia demonstrated substantial progress in the dialogue with Strasbourg on Ukraine.

    Tejera agreed, saying Russia had time until January 2016 to change the "situation concerning human rights, concerning the frontier with Ukraine, Crimea, Donetsk, Luhansk."

    The next debate over Russia's PACE credentials is due in June, the Assembly's President Anne Brasseur said earlier this week.

    Related:

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    PACE Ejects Russia, Loses Leverage Over Ukraine Conflict
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