MOSCOW, June 3 (RIA Novosti) – Moscow has officially informed the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) about its decision to halt bilateral cooperation and skip the summer session, according to the head of Russia’s PACE delegation.
“The Russian delegation will not take part in the June session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. We have suspended our cooperation with the assembly until they lift sanctions from our delegation,” said Alexei Pushkov, who chairs a State Duma (Russian Parliament) foreign affairs committee.
The chief of the Russian delegation in PACE said Russia’s refusal had been brought to the attention of Tiny Cox, the chairman of the Party of the European Left in the assembly, during his visit to Moscow on May 26.
Pushkov reminded that in Russia the Dutchman from the assembly’s left-wing faction met with the chairman of the Russian lower house, Sergei Naryshkin, who later sent a letter to PACE’s chief Anne Brasseur notifying her about Moscow’s decision to cut its ties with the European Council’s advisory body.
“The message contained a detailed explanation of Russia’s stance on Crimea and the Ukraine crisis, criticized PACE’s move to strip the Russian delegation of some of its rights and underscored that we do not refuse to negotiate, but rather disapprove of the language of sanctions because they stifle cooperation,” Pushkov said in an interview with Izvestia newspaper.
He added that Sergei Naryshkin was ready to go to Strasbourg and speak before the assembly, but only after the Russian delegation was rehabilitated.
This came after PACE voted in April to expel Russia from the assembly’s managerial bodies following country’s reunification with Crimea and suspended its right to vote and to participate in the election observance missions until the end of the year. In protest, the Russian delegation walked out of the PACE spring session.
Head of the Russian delegation Alexei Pushkov called the entire debate on Russia’s credentials a political farce and stated that Russia would not rush to reconsider its foreign policy and principles.