Politics 12:49 25/06/2019 World

PACE OKs Russia’s return: how Armenian delegation voted

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) has voted to make it possible for Russia to return to the chamber following a three-year hiatus.

The vote took place early on June 25 following debate during PACE's opening summer session in Strasbourg, RFE/RL reported.

The decision marks the first time that a major sanction imposed on Moscow since its 'annexation' of Ukraine’s Crimea region in March 2014 has been reversed.

Russia responded in 2016 by boycotting the assembly, and has since 2017 refused to pay its annual contribution of 33 million euros, roughly 7 percent of the council's budget.

The country had threatened to quit the body altogether if its delegation isn't reinstated and it can't vote on the next secretary-general to succeed Norway's Thorbjorn Jagland.

A total of 118 parliamentarians agreed to welcome Russia back into PACE immediately and to blunt the assembly's ability to impose sanctions similar to those on Russia in the future.

Sixty-two members voted against the move and 10 abstained.

In a resolution, PACE decided that its members’ “rights to vote, to speak, and to be represented in the Assembly and its bodies shall not be suspended or withdrawn in the context of a challenge to or reconsideration of credentials.”

The assembly said this clarification of its rules was to “ensure that member states’ right and obligation to be represented and to participate in both statutory bodies of the Council of Europe is respected.”

The assembly also invited the parliaments of Council of Europe member states “which are not represented by a delegation” to PACE to present their credentials during the ongoing annual session.

That means Russia can present a delegation to PACE on June 25, paving the way for the country to participate in the election of a new secretary-general for the Council of Europe the next day.

Interestingly, the head of the Armenian delegation to PACE, Ruben Rubinyan voted against the resolution, while the second MP from the ruling My Step alliance didn’t take part in the voting. Opposition lawmakers Naira Zohrabyan and Edmon Marukyan backed the move.

This comes when the whole Europe supported Russia’s return to the PACE, with lawmakers from Germany, Spain, France, Italy, Norway, Turkey and Azerbaijan voting in favor of the resolution. Some of the British MPs backed the move, while others voted against it or abstained.



Source Panorama.am
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