The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) of Ukraine emphasizes the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine's parliament, is not obliged to invite a delegation of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) to observe the elections in Ukraine.
"In previous years, there have been friendly partnership relations between the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, which today can hardly be described as such. At that time, when there were trust and mutual respect, the PACE enjoyed prestige, the Verkhovna Rada's leadership invited the PACE to observe elections in Ukraine," MFA spokesperson Kateryna Zelenko told UNIAN, commenting on the statement by PACE President Liliane Maury Pasquier that Ukraine has the commitment to invite the Assembly to observe elections.
"Let us also not forget that in an international intergovernmental organization, which the Council of Europe is, there are only two bodies whose decisions are binding: this is the Committee of Ministers and the European Court of Human Rights. And the PACE is an advisory body in accordance with the Charter of the Council Europe. Ukraine has always respected the PACE advice and proceeded from the importance of implementing such advice," she said.
"Unfortunately, at the June session, this advisory body of the Council of Europe voted for the non-obligatory execution of its decisions, when in fact it canceled the requirement for Russia to execute not one, but seven decisions made in response to the Russian aggression against Ukraine. Therefore, the question is for Mrs. Pasquier whether she is ready to take steps to restore the authority of the deliberative body of the Council of Europe and, consequently, its decisions," Zelenko said.
"The Assembly, in its rules of procedure, noted that it is the Assembly's right to observe the elections. But this does not mean that the parliament is obliged to invite the PACE to observe the elections. Today, the Foreign Ministry does not have a single appeal from this advisory body, and we don't know whether the parliament or the Central Election Commission did," the spokeswoman added.
She reiterated the fact that the leadership of the parliament, after unanimously supporting the Foreign Affairs Committee, had withdrawn the PACE invitation to observe the parliamentary elections. "And we understand the motivation of this decision. We all know what happened in Strasbourg last week and what the consequences were for the PACE deliberative body," Zelenko said.
However, she stressed Ukraine had not violated any of the Council of Europe's documents that are binding.
"As for the documents of the deliberative body and the inter-parliamentary dialogue in general, it seems to us that instead of emotionally responding to decisions of the Verkhovna Rada leadership in a public plane, the PACE should enter into dialogue and hold consultations with the Ukrainian delegation in the Assembly," Zelenko added.