Last week, the Council of Europe, an older and larger body than the European Union, reinstated Russia as a member with full rights after the Kremlin was barred from the organization over actions in Ukraine. To protest this development, members of the former Soviet Union and former Soviet satellites walked out of the parliamentary session.
Delegations of Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Ukraine, Georgia, Poland and Slovakia said in their statement: “The unconditional restoration of the Russian Delegation’s rights without the Russian Federation honoring any of the Assembly’s numerous demands runs counter to the core values of the Council of Europe and its Statute,” reported The Baltic Times.
This step sends a very wrong signal to the country that has resorted to armed aggression, poisoning of individuals, does not observe human rights of its citizens and does not promote but seeks to destabilize democracies throughout Europe,” the delegates said.
The future of the Council of Europe is under threat as a whole because the Council of Europe is losing the trust of the people it stands to protect,” the statement stresses.
The delegates said they are returning home “to consult our Parliaments and Governments about the joint actions in the Assembly in the next sessions,” adding that they “wish good luck to the newly elected Secretary General and hope she/he finds a way to solve this unprecedented crisis of trust which was created this week.”
Russian state run media heralded the reinstatement of the Russian Federation, but warned of any restrictions place on Moscow within the PACE framework.
“The delegation will return to PACE in full only if no attempts to impose any restrictions are made. Such a possibility remains,” Slutsky said. He added that “there is still a norm that allows 30 representatives of the Assembly from at least five countries to question the rights of a national delegation upon its confirmation.” “In that case, the regulatory committee will have to prepare an urgent report,” he noted, reported Russian state news agency TASS.
The Russian delegation will not tolerate “any more sanctions, no matter how insignificant,” Slutsky stressed. “If they try to introduce new restrictions, we will leave Strasbourg,” he said.
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