MOSCOW, January 18. The theoretical possibility of returning Russia to Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) in 2016, there is only after the elections to the state Duma. This was stated to journalists by the Chairman of the Duma Committee on international Affairs, head of the Russian delegation in PACE Alexei Pushkov.
“After the elections, Russia can re-apply (with a request to the powers in PACE),” said Pushkov journalists. He noted that it depends on “the timing of the September – October session, from the dates when the will hold its first meeting of the state Duma – after the September elections”.
“So the theoretical possibility of a return in 2016 exists. But, as to the advisability of such return, my point is that until you have created the conditions for a full return of the Russian delegation, we must refrain from working in this organization”, – said the head of the Committee.
Pushkov said that the PACE Secretariat adheres to “the interpretation of statutory documents of the Assembly and of the Council of Europe, which comes from the fact that national delegations must be authorised in the first part of the session of 2016, i.e. at the January session”.
At subsequent sessions can only be made about changes in the composition of the delegation, he stated the position of the representatives of the Assembly. “Thus it comes about that at subsequent sessions of the country cannot query the authority, except when in the course of the year are held elections and formed a new delegation,” he said.
About contacts with members of PACE
Pushkov said he does not rule out contacts with the new leadership of the PACE, if it will seek the return of the Russian delegation in Strasbourg.
“I do not exclude the possible contacts with the new leadership (PACE), if it will articulate his desire to do everything possible to ensure conditions for the return of the Russian delegation,” said Pushkov journalists.
In this regard, the politician reminded that in 2015 Russia refused to have any official contacts with all bodies of the Assembly and all members of the PACE Assembly line. “We made contacts with members of the PACE only as individual national parliamentarians”, – he explained.
This was due, according to Pushkov, in particular, with the fact that “all negotiations and attempts to find a common language with the leadership at the PACE (the current speaker) Anne Brasseur in what have not resulted”. “Although there were three meetings between the leadership of the state Duma and the leadership of PACE, but that gave no practical results,” he said.
During the January session, which refused to participate the delegation of the Russian Federation, it is expected that the re-election of PACE President, and, in all likelihood, the current speaker Anne Brasseur will give way to the leader of the faction the European people’s party, the Spaniard Pedro Agramunt.
“The PACE will be elections, and we get new leadership PACE. I think that, as said today the Chairman of the state Duma Sergey Naryshkin, we will closely monitor the processes that occur in PACE, with the position of the new Chairman, who will replace Anne Brasseur,” – said the head of the Russian delegation.
About plans of Kiev
Pushkov said that Kyiv authorities were actively working to discredit Russia ahead of the January session of the PACE, and explained that the absence of the Russian Parliament in Strasbourg makes these efforts are in vain.
“We had all the necessary information to make an informed decision (and to refuse to participate in the session),” said Pushkov journalists today.
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“We knew that the representatives of the delegations of several countries, particularly the Nordic countries such as Sweden, Poland, the Baltic countries had intended on the first day of the January session to put the question on prolongation of sanctions against the Russian delegation, and maybe even further restrict our rights,” he said, explaining thus the reasoning of the Russian Federation. According to him, delegations of the leading continental countries of the EU was not going to be initiated limitations on the powers of Russian deputies, “but it cannot be excluded that some of these delegations could support the initiative of their Northern colleagues.”
“We know that the Ukrainian foreign Ministry has instructed all ambassadors in the countries of the Council of Europe to undertake the necessary work in the parliamentary delegations of these countries in the PACE in order to persuade them to forgo the return of the full amount of the powers of the Russian delegation. That is, long before the January session began the systematic and in-depth training to arrange at the January session of another anti-Russian scandal,” said Pushkov. He believes that Ukraine “was connected with this hope to get extra points in the eyes of the European public, which ceases to be interested in Ukraine, which was disappointed in it which begins to feel a sense of exclusion to the country, which appears mainly as the country is not uncontrolled corruption, as a country, where heroes announce neo-Nazi leaders.” “About this rejection of Ukraine in the part of European public opinion known in Kiev, and they hoped to confront him with a new dose of Russophobia, which they hoped to throw at the PACE session,” said the head of the delegation of the Russian Federation.
As a result, “such a possibility they will not, all this preparation has gone awry, and now they have only to rend the air in the absence Russia,” said Pushkov. He confirmed that, since the delegation of the Russian Federation has not requested powers (PACE), the question of authority cannot be dealt with”. “You cannot restrict what has not addressed the national delegations, in this case Russia,” – said the Deputy.
“Secondly, the forthcoming anti-Russian resolution will be nothing more than another propaganda document which will PACE, and again, in our absence it (the resolution) will not have any practical significance,” warned cannon.
Of a possible revision of sanctions
Pushkov said that links the return of the Russian parliamentarians in PACE with the possible revision of EU sanctions against Russia.
All sanctions of the West against Russia
Speaking about the conditions for the full return of the Russian Federation in PACE, Pushkov expressed the view that “it will be connected with the process of revising the sanctions against Russia from the EU”. “PACE is not an independent organization that it currently is. The majority of delegations to the PACE are the ruling party in the EU, the deputies, of course, guided by the official position of their governments and the leadership of their parties,” he told reporters.
“So when the EU will reconsider sanctions against Russia, then, in my opinion, may create the political conditions to cancel them, and some delegations of the EU in the PACE – so that they, too, were inclined to refuse those illegal sanctions taken against the Russian delegation,” said Pushkov.
As reported on Monday, state Duma speaker Sergei Naryshkin, has decided not to apply for participation of the Russian delegation in the PACE session in January, which will be held in Strasbourg on January 25-29.
What are the differences
The Russian delegation in PACE in April 2014 was deprived of substantive powers because of the events in Ukraine and the reunification of the Crimea with Russia. In 2015 the Assembly has twice considered the question of the restoration of the Russian delegation in her rights, but sanctions still remain: Russia deprived of voting rights and participation the work of the governing bodies of the Assembly and its monitoring missions to observe elections in the CE space. In response, Russia stated that ties suspend its involvement in PACE activity until the end of 2015. The leadership of the Russian delegation has repeatedly stated that she will be back to PACE only when removed from all sanctions.
PACE winter session will be held in Strasbourg from 25 to 29 January 2016. State Duma speaker Sergei Naryshkin earlier today stated that the delegation of the Russian Federation refuses to apply to participate in PACE session in January.