3 Jul 2019 13:27

Russia may not pay debt for CoE for non-participation period - Slutsky

MOSCOW. July 3 (Interfax) - It should be possible for Russia not to pay its debt to the Council of Europe (CoE) for several months of 2017 and 2018 due to its non-participation in the activity of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), State Duma Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Leonid Slutsky said.

"As far as I understand the operation of our Finance Ministry, we will pay for the year of our return [to PACE] and not for the years of our absence, which would be perfectly reasonable in this case," Slutsky told the press on Wednesday, adding, "What should we be paying for?"

As regards paying the debt, Slutsky said, "This is highly questionable due to what I mildly describe as our extremely limited presence in the CoE bodies during that period."

Russia took no part "in the election of approximately 70% of ECHR judges, and the human rights commissioner," he said.

"From my point of view, payments are highly problematic in this light. If the Finance Ministry sticks to this mechanism, then this mechanism is correct, and I say again that we should be very cautious about paying debts for the period of our absence from the PACE," Slutsky said.

"The topic will be discussed at summit level when Mrs. Secretary General pays her first visit to Russia in the new capacity in fall, as we're expecting," he said.