16 Apr 2019 10:28

Roadmap to resolve crisis in Russia-PACE relations may be drawn up before end of May - Slutsky

MOSCOW. April 16 (Interfax) - Chairman of the Russian State Duma's Foreign Affairs Committee Leonid Slutsky has said he thinks a roadmap to overcome the crisis in relations between Russia and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) may be drawn up before the end of May.

"The resolution based on Tiny Kox's report that was adopted last week makes it possible to work out a roadmap to resolve the crisis in relations between Russia and PACE. By fulfilling the points of Kox's report, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe may adopt a decision on May 17 to form a joint structure with the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe that will tackle issues of countries which are in a difficult or critical situation," Slutsky told reporters on Tuesday.

"It is quite probable that a recommendation may be drawn up within this structure for the PACE Standing Committee for introduce amendments into PACE's regulations to remove the sanctions clauses," he said.

"At its session in Paris on May 24 - the assembly's so-called mini-session - the Standing Committee, in turn, may adopt a report and resolution on amending PACE's regulations," he said.

"This entirely falls within the Standing Committee's remit. And then all prerequisites will be created for the Russian delegation's return to Strasbourg. Only the PACE Bureau will have to adopt a decision that the national delegations' credentials can be confirmed not once a year, but at each PACE session," Slutsky said.

However, "all this is just a theory for now," he said.

"But if such a roadmap is put into practice, Russian parliamentarians will be able to attend the assembly's June session, at which the election of the Council of Europe's new secretary general will be held," he said.

"It is a key to our further cooperation with this organization, because, otherwise, 90% of its legitimacy will be lost," he said.

"I still hope that a sensible and constructive approach will prevail within the Council of Europe," he said.

"Russia may return to PACE if amendments are introduced into regulations to remove sanctions norms that make it possible to strip national delegations of their key credentials. And this is the main conditions for the resumption of our work," Slutsky said.

The Russian delegation was deprived of its voting rights in April 2014 over Crimea's unification with Russia and the situation in Ukraine. In January 2015, the PACE extended the sanctions, preventing the Russian delegation from participating in the Assembly's ruling bodies and monitoring missions.

The Russian delegation refused to attend Assembly sessions, which take place four times a year, and conditioned its return to the PACE on the full restoration of its powers and adjustments to the PACE rules to prevent infringements of the rights of national delegations in the future. In that connection, in 2017, Moscow suspended the payment of its contributions to the Council of Europe.