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Leonid Slutsky: anti-Russian forces in PACE are unlikely to stop challenging Russia’s powers

Ukraine, Georgia and the Baltic countries are likely to continue to challenge the credentials of the Russian delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) even after a statement by the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe about the possibility of the presence of Crimean State Duma deputies in the delegation. Such an opinion on Friday in an interview with a TASS correspondent expressed the chairman of the Duma Committee on Foreign Affairs Leonid Slutsky.

“The conclusion of the Venice Commission should be another bitter pill for the countries that are members of the so-called Baltic Plus group. However, this is unlikely to stop them. Reasonable arguments do not work in case of anti-Russian hysteria from an aggressively minded minority,” he said.

“Therefore, one cannot exclude new and new attempts by Ukraine, Georgia and the Baltic states to raise the issue of the credentials of the delegation of the Russian Federation in any way,” the deputy added.

At the same time, the head of the committee continued, the Venice Commission’s verdict “obviously gives added value to the PACE June decision on the equal rights of all national delegations, which allowed Russia to return to the assembly venue in Strasbourg.” “I hope that constructive parliamentarians of the Council of Europe will also be guided by the opinion of the commission during the annual ratification of the powers of all national delegations to PACE in January 2020,” he concluded.

According to a statement issued by the Venice Commission on Friday, “the PACE’s obligation not to recognize the annexation does not necessarily entail a denial of authority of the parliamentary delegation.” The commission’s report was prepared at the request of the PACE regulatory committee in the context of challenging the powers of the Russian delegation on procedural grounds. As a source in the Council of Europe explained to TASS, “the initiators wanted to achieve recognition of the parliamentary elections in Russia as invalid on the grounds that Crimeans participated in them, and thus cast doubt on the legitimacy of the Russian delegation to PACE and its powers.”

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