The head of the PACE commented on the Assembly in the Crimea

© RIA Novosti / Vladimir Sergeevicha in fotoreceptori. Archival photoThe head of the PACE commented on the Assembly in the Crimea© RIA Novosti / Vladimir Sergeevicha the image Bank

PACE position on Crimea remains the same, but dialogue with Russia, said in an interview with RIA Novosti the head of the Assembly, Liliane Maury Pasquier.

Responding to a question about whether the upcoming session in October the discussion on the draft report on the credentials of national delegations to facilitate the return of the Russian delegation to PACE, she expressed the hope that the relevant Committee working on the draft document will perform their work «urgently and seriously».

«We have to wait for the results of the discussion (in PACE)», she said.

The draft report will be submitted to PACE on Thursday, September 20. While Pasquier drew attention to the fact that «the revision of the Charter is a very serious legal issue because it affects the functioning of the Assembly as a whole.»

«We want to have a strong Charter that will allow the Assembly to perform its functions as a statutory body, a political forum for parliamentary dialogue and a defender of the values and norms of our organization», — said the head of PACE. She believes that «these rules should apply to all countries and situations.»

Commenting on relations with Russia, she said that «we must not forget the origin of this crisis: after the illegal annexation of Crimea, the Assembly adopted a political decision and its position remains unchanged and still relevant.»

Thus, «faced with this crisis, we bear political responsibility for the joint search of solutions, and this search takes place primarily through dialogue,» said Pasquier.

«I am a supporter of open and constructive dialogue for the explicit solution to the issues that divide us, and that unites us», — said the head of the Assembly.

She added that «our unity is the values and standards of the Council of Europe».

«I hope that the dialogue we will overcome the differences that divide us», she said.

On the upcoming October session of the PACE for the first time will be discussed, repeatedly put forward by the Russian party 2014, — to prevent the application of sanctions against the national delegations. Representatives of Russia have been deprived of some powers (the ability to vote, to participate in the monitoring activities of the Assembly and participate in statutory bodies of the Assembly) at the April session of 2014 because of the position on the Crimea. Next year the PACE is not only lifted sanctions, but added new ones. Moscow said it was impossible to work in such conditions, ceased to attend meetings, and since 2016 is not sending the required for accreditation of their delegations documents.

At the end of June last year, the conflict between Moscow and Strasbourg have reached a new level, the Russian side stated that it intends to suspend some payments to the budget of the Council of Europe for 2017 as long as the credentials of the delegation to PACE will not be restored in full. Despite the suspension of the payment of an instalment, the Russian side has continued to work on ratification of Convention documents.

In March of this year the PACE for the first time acknowledged that the return of Turkey to the category of ordinary taxpayers and the Russian decision to suspend payments for 2017 and part of the contribution for 2018 became the reason for the organization’s financial difficulties — she had to freeze the budget at nine percent, the deficit amounted to 1.5 million euros. In April of this year the Secretary General of the Council of Europe Torbjern Jagland stated that, in connection with the situation around non-payment of assessments against Russia could be taken sanctions. He did not elaborate on what the sanctions in question.

At the end of June this year, the Russian side declared that will continue to refrain from transferring part of its contribution to the budget of the Council.

Crimea became a Russian region after held there in March 2014 referendum in which 96.77 percent of voters in Crimea and 95.6% of residents of Sevastopol voted for joining Russian Federation. Crimean authorities held a referendum after a coup in Ukraine in February 2014. Ukraine still considers Crimea its but temporarily occupied territory. The Russian leadership has repeatedly stated that the inhabitants of Crimea democratically in full compliance with international law and the UN Charter voted for reunification with Russia. According to the Russian President, the question of Crimea «closed permanently».