12 Oct 2018 16:11

CoE secretary general: not too late to prevent Ruxit, our governments should find solution with Russia

MOSCOW. Oct 12 (Interfax) - The governments of the Council of Europe's (CoE) member states and Russia should try to resolve the problem of Russia's non-payment of CoE fees before the conference of foreign ministers in May 2019, CoE Secretary General Thorbjorn Jagland said.

"The matter is now urgent. Our member states will soon have to take a decision on Russia's non-payment. This procedure could lead to Russia being asked to leave," Jagland was quoted as saying by the CoE's press service.

"It is not too late to prevent Ruxit. I am appealing to our governments to take their responsibility seriously and to find a solution with Russia. There must be a dialogue at the highest level for the conference of Foreign Ministers in Helsinki in May 2019," Jagland said.

Russia has not paid its fee since 2017, when the CoE's Parliamentary Assembly disqualified its delegation over the situation in Ukraine and Crimea.

Yesterday, Jagland said that Russia could be expelled from the CoE unless it resumes payments by June 2019.

He said that on Friday he notified the 47-member CoE Ministerial Committee about "preparations for the 2019 budget without the Russian financial contribution."

"We have heard that the Council of Europe is begging Russia for money. It is not true. It is not about the budget. The real question is: does Russia belong to the European family of nations, yes or no?

"My view is well known: Russia is part of Europe and Russia has its place is in this unique pan-European organization. We need each other - Europe needs Russia - and Russia needs Europe," Jagland said.