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    Russia Unlikely to Take Part in PACE Work Next Year - Lawmaker

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    Russia is unlikely to participate in the work of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) in 2018, a Russian lower house lawmaker said Thursday.

    PARIS (Sputnik) — Chairman of State Duma International Affairs Committee Leonid Slutsky said Thursday that Russia is unlikely to participate in the work of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) in 2018 as overcoming obstacles and differences would take time and political will.

    A delegation of Russian lawmakers attended a PACE Presidential Committee meeting in Paris earlier in the day.

    "I think it will not be easy for the PACE to take such decisions, especially since they can theoretically be adopted only during the next session of the Council of Europe, the likelihood of which is also extremely small," Slutsky said.

    "This should be preceded by an appropriate report by the profile committee on regulations. Therefore, the probability of Russia applying for credentials at the assembly during 2018 is extremely small," he stressed.

    Konstantin Kosachev, chairman of the Russian Federation Council's Foreign Affairs Committee, said Thursday that the Russian parliament will make a decision on participation in the work of the PACE winter session in January.

    "A decision to apply or not to apply for Russian participation is the sovereign right of the Russian side, no one will make it for us. It will be adopted by both houses and I think that it will happen in January, right before the start of the next PACE session," Kosachev said.

    According to Deputy Speaker of the lower house of Russian parliament Pyotr Tolstoy, Russia is satisfied with the outcome of consultations with the PACE Presidential Committee and believes a step in right direction was taken.

    "I am confident that the readiness for dialogue from both the PACE and the Russian delegation is the right signal to continue developing the bilateral dialogue," Tolstoy said.

    PACE stripped the Russian delegationof its voting rights and participation in the work of its three key bodies amid the 2014 crisis in Ukraine and Crimea's reunification with Russia. The Russian delegation left PACE in 2015 and did not renew its credentials ahead of the assembly's 2016 and 2017 winter sessions.

    Russia insists on the necessity of amendments to the PACE regulations that would exclude the possibility to limit the rights of national delegations. The Russian parliament has repeatedly stated that Russia might discuss the resumption of its work within the PACE only provided that these amendments are adopted.

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