Russia is ready to help the Council of Europe overcome its crisis, but those who stripped the Russian delegation to PACE of its powers should take the first step, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at his annual meeting with students and professors at the Foreign Ministry’s Diplomatic Academy.
Russia's top diplomat noted that this crisis was not created by Russia. "The first and decisive step should be taken by those who, in violation of the statute of the Council of Europe, deprived the Russian delegation to the PACE of all the necessary powers," RIA Novosti cited him as saying.
Lavrov stressed that "voices of those who want to stop the senseless confrontation" of the West and Russia are multiplying both in the Council of Europe and in Europe.
It is being pumped "for the sake of the geopolitical ambitions" of the United States, as well as in the interests of American business, which seeks to replace "Russian energy resources with more expensive American ones, as well as Russian weapons with American arms," the Russian foreign minister said.
Answering the question of Vestnik Kavkaza about how Russia views the fact that PACE adopted a resolution at its April session, in which it called on Russia to form its delegation, as well as pay contribution to the Council of Europe's budget, spokeswoman of the Russian Foreign Ministry Maria Zakharova said that Russia has always wanted to participate actively in the PACE activities.
Zakharova stressed that Russia's participation in the activities of PACE should be based solely on principles of partnership and equality. "Full membership of Russian representatives in the work of PACE implies payment of contributions, as well as work in a format valid for all other representatives of member-countries of the organization. Violation of principles of equality when it comes to Russia also implies that we won't have to pay contributions," she noted.
The spokesperson stressed that the Russian side has repeatedly said that it's ready to work in PACE only as a fullfledged member of the organization. "Presence at meetings without the right to vote and without the right to work out decisions is unacceptable. We want to ensure that our membership is fullfledged. Only in this case Russia will bear its share of obligations, including financial," Zakharova concluded.
The deputy head of the Council of the Russian Diplomats Association, Andrey Baklanov, speaking with the correspondent of Vestnik Kavkaza, noted that the Council of Europe's resolution does not indicate that European parliamentarians have come to their senses. "I think positive changes in the position of European parliamentarians have only begun to take shape,being connected with their concern about two things: the organization's financial position and a sharp decline in authority in European and world politics. Both things are due to the fact that a very powerful segment of Russian interaction fell out," he explained.
"I would not count on sincerity and balance of MPs now. This is only the beginning of the process. I would not be in a hurry to return there and would require from them not only a willingness to interact with us on an equal footing, but also apologize for their destructive policy," Andrei Baklanov stressed.
Without Russia, the Council of Europe risks ceasing to play any important role in world politics. "The role of Europe in world affairs is diminishing, and the significance of the European Union is declining. I can say it by negotiations with representatives of Asian states. Therefore, I think they need to learn the lessons very clearly. This is a prerequisite for the European Union to start playing clearer and authoritative role," the deputy head of the Council of the Russian Diplomats Association concluded.