Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe Votes To Allow Russia To Resume Participation
June 26 (EIRNS)—Over British objections, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), based in Strasbourg, France, passed a resolution allowing Russia to participate in the assembly’s June session.
Following the Nazi-led coup in Ukraine and Crimea’s vote to reunify with Russia, the PACE had stripped the Russian delegation of its right to vote, to participate in observer missions, or hold seats on PACE leadership bodies in April 2014. PACE then tightened sanctions against Russia further in 2015. In response, Russia refused to participate in PACE activities, and in 2016-2018 further refused to apply for confirmation of its powers.
The resolution, which passed by a 118-62 and 10 abstentions, reverses the earlier decisions, allowing the Russian delegation to take part in the Assembly’s June session. It specifies that the delegation members’ “rights to vote, to speak and to be represented in the Assembly and its bodies shall not be suspended or withdrawn in the context of a challenge to or reconsideration of credentials,” reported TASS. The move follows the fact that Russia refused to make any of its financial contributions, some €33 million, because of its PACE suspension, and threatened to withdraw completely from the Council of Europe, which runs the European Court of Human Rights.
The Ukraine delegation walked out of the PACE meeting in protest, and was then joined by the delegations from Georgia, Poland, Slovakia, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. The British, who had joined Ukraine in opposing the Russians, did not walk out, although they are joining in lodging protests. According to Kyiv Post, the opposing governments will consider joint actions at future sessions of PACE, but there is “no substantial indication that there will be a permanent boycott.”
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov called the decision a “victory of reason,” which recognizes that PACE cannot adequately work without the participation of the Russian delegation. There is no change in PACE’s position on Crimea, but “we are determined to stay patient and to systematically explain the Crimean issue until our foreign partners change their mind,” he said, pointed out that European officials were beginning to express different points of view on the issue.
The Council of Europe, founded in 1949, and its Parliamentary Assembly is made up of 47 member-states and their parliamentary representatives, and is not related to the European Union or the European Parliament.China’s Foreign Ministry Rips into Pompeo’s Anti-Belt and Road ‘Spell’