CoE foreign ministers approve move paving way to lifting Russia sanctions
As the Council of Europe (CoE) is celebrating its 70th anniversary, over 30 Foreign Affairs Ministers from the 47 member states have declared that all member states should be entitled to participate on an equal basis in the Committee of Ministers and in the Parliamentary Assembly, the two statutory organs of the Council of Europe.
This could lead to the lifting of sanctions off the Russian Federation, whose delegation has been deprived of the right to vote in PACE, while its representatives – excluded from all the governing bodies of the Assembly over Russia's aggression against Ukraine.
During an annual meeting of CoE foreign ministers in Helsinki, the Ministers reaffirmed the importance of the Organisation as a unique platform for dialogue and co-operation, the CoE said in a press release.
At the same time, they stressed that one of the fundamental obligations of member states is to pay their contributions to the ordinary budget.
Moreover, they would welcome that delegations of all member states be able to take part in the next June partsession of the Parliamentary Assembly, considering the importance of the elections of the Secretary General and of judges to the European Court of Human Rights.
"While dialogue between the Committee of Ministers and the Parliamentary Assembly has increased, the Ministers underlined the need for co-ordinated action, in order to strengthen the Organisation's ability to react more effectively in situations where a member state violates its statutory obligations or does not respect the standards, fundamental principles and values upheld by the Council of Europe," reads the report.
As UNIAN reported earlier, in January, Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Thorbjorn Jagland, expressed his hope that the CoE statutory bodies would find a mechanism for preserving Russia's membership in the organization.
At the April 2014 session of PACE, the Russian delegation was deprived of the voting right and had its representatives expelled from all governing bodies over the Crimea annexation.
Since then, the Russian Federation has boycotted meetings of the Assembly, demanding that their rights be fully renewed.
In June 2017, Russia refused to pay membership fees to the Council of Europe for 2017 until the powers of its delegation to PACE are resumed in full.
Since January 2018, the campaign has been ongoing promoting the return of the Russian delegation to the PACE.