MOSCOW, January 18. The Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation is ready to resume work in the parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) in the case of rights of national delegations. This is stated in the official letter head of the PACE Anne Brasseur signed by the speakers of both chambers of the Russian Parliament Sergei Naryshkin and Valentina Matvienko.
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“The Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation remains a strong supporter of inter-parliamentary dialogue and will be ready to resume work in PACE in case of observance of equal rights and opportunities for all national delegations”, – stated in the document, a copy of which is available. In particular, it contains the reference to paragraph 6.4 of the rules of procedure of PACE, according to which the Russian Parliament reserves the right “to form a national delegation at a later stage, when it will develop all necessary preconditions”.
The duty of parliamentarians
According to the authors of the letter, “in the current difficult conditions, the debt of European parliamentarians to continue an equal conversation, which is a vital tool of democracy, the rule of law and human rights, a sine qua non of solving the urgent problems of the modern world, including those that led to well-known differences in PACE in the last two years.”
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Matvienko and Naryshkin urged PACE “to rise above the temptation to settle inter-state bills, which are often based on outdated phobias and prejudices, and to revive in its activities, the commitment to the main goals of the Council of Europe, as it declared in its Charter: “to achieve a greater unity between its members in the name of safeguarding and realising the ideals and principles which are their common heritage and facilitating their economic and social progress”.
Russia is not coming to the session
The letter notes that the Parliament of the Russian Federation “at the moment it is not possible to refer to PACE for approval of the credentials of the Russian delegation to the January session of the Assembly in 2016”. “This is due to the fact that in 2014-2015 in relation to the delegation of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation to PACE the decisions of the Assembly applied measures of a restrictive nature, impose significant limitations in the implementation of its democratic credentials as the deputation of the Russian Parliament, acting in accordance with the will of Russian citizens”, – stated in the document.
The Russian parliamentarians promised to monitor closely the development of discussions during the January session of the Assembly, including on the draft resolution “the Introduction of sanctions against parliamentarians”, which criticized the sanctions as being contrary to the nature of parliamentarism.
As said 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.
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.