News2020.01.30 12:00

Lithuania fails to block Russia at PACE

Lithuania has failed in its attempt to block Russian delegates' powers at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE).

A resolution favourable to Russia, drafted by PACE's Monitoring Committee, was passed at Wednesday's plenary session with 96 votes in favour, 44 against and seven abstentions, Algirdas Butkevičius, the head of the Seimas delegation to PACE, told BNS.

“In the final vote on the resolution drafted by the Monitoring Committee, [PACE] recognised the Russian delegation's credentials, and they remain full-fledged members. We lost,” he said.

Read more: Lithuania moves to block Russia's powers at PACE

Butkevičius said earlier that “the annexation of Crimea and a lack of democratic processes” in Russia were the reasons to block the country's participation in PACE.

The proposal to challenge the Russian delegation's credentials, tabled by Lithuanian MP Emanuelis Zingeris earlier this week, was backed by enough parliamentarians for it be considered by the Monitoring Committee.

Interfax has reported that the resolution favourable to Russia was adopted despite a low number of voters, because it required a simple majority.

According to the Russian news agency, the resolution reads that Russia has implemented certain recommendations over the past six years since its reinstatement in PACE, including the return of 24 Ukrainian sailors captured in the Kerch Strait, and made some progress in implementing the Minsk agreements over the war in Ukraine.

Russia lost its voting rights at PACE after it annexed the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine in 2014. Moscow responded by boycotting the assembly's sessions.

In June 2019, PACE voted to restore Moscow's voting rights to prevent Russian MPs from leaving the organisation altogether.

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