14:07 13.10.2017

PACE, CoE committees fail to support creation of working group to return Russia to PACE

PACE, CoE committees fail to support creation of working group to return Russia to PACE

 A committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) and the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe (CMCE) at a meeting on October 12 failed to decide on the creation of a working group on reforming the Council of Europe, which foresees the return of a Russian delegation to the PACE, Ukraine's Permanent Representative to the Council of Europe Dmytro Kuleba has said.

"In continuation of yesterday's drama with a report by [member of the Italian delegation to PACE Michele] Nicoletti and Russia's return to the PACE, the report envisaged a meeting of the PACE general committee and the Committee of Ministers (CMCE). This is when the ambassadors sit together with the deputies. They had to decide on the creation of a working group that actually had to look for ways to reform the Council of Europe and return Russia," Kuleba wrote on his Facebook page.

He noted that under the scenario of "Russian lawyers" even the fact of the creation of a working group should have become a signal to Moscow and everyone who has not yet decided in the Council of Europe on the readiness to negotiate and search for a solution.

"This meeting has just ended. The position of the Ukrainian government is that there are no conditions for the return of Russia, there is no need to create any working groups, the dialogue between the Committee of Ministers and the Assembly can continue only in the available formats," Kuleba said.

According to him, Ukraine's partners were more diplomatic, but they also did not support the creation of the group, while "the Russian ambassador and some other ambassadors were in favor of creating the group."

"Together with partners, we blocked this initiative. There will be no working group. Each body will continue the discussions individually. The PACE president will conduct a bilateral dialogue with the head of the CMCE, and in January 2018 we will hold the next meeting of the general committee," Kuleba said.

As reported, the PACE approved by a majority of votes a decision that aims to lift political sanctions from the Russian delegation.

The text of the decision includes the provision that the PACE and the Committee of Ministers (the Council of Europe's executive body) should harmonize the rules of participation and representation of member states in both statutory bodies.

This decision should ban the PACE from extending the restrictions imposed on Russia without the consent of the member states. In fact, this calls into question the approval in the PACE of any sanctions against Russia. Given that sanctions should be renewed annually, restrictions can be lifted already in January.

This provision was supported by the overwhelming majority of PACE deputies, whereas the amendments proposed by Ukraine failed, with the votes divided in the proportion of 60 to 30.

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