‘It takes two to hold a dialogue’ says PACE President, following the announcement that Sergey Naryshkin, Speaker of the State Duma, will not be coming to Strasbourg

Strasbourg, 27.09.2012 – "I was disappointed to learn this morning that Mr Naryshkin, the Speaker of the State Duma of the Russian Federation, has cancelled his participation in the October part-session to be held in Strasbourg next week,” the President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), Jean-Claude Mignon, said today.

“During this part-session we will be examining a report on the honouring of obligations and commitments by the Russian Federation, the first such report in seven years. Our exchange of views with Mr Naryshkin would have allowed us make a political assessment of Russia's participation in the work of the Council of Europe, while together identifying tangible means of further reinforcing our co-operation, including on issues that are still causing debate.

Our Assembly is a forum for discussion between parliamentarians, who freely express their ideas and opinions and defend their proposals in draft resolutions and recommendations. We hold our debates according to the principles of dialogue and mutual respect, treating all participants on an equal footing and applying no double standards.

It takes two to hold a dialogue. The Russian delegation is part of our Assembly, and the Russian senators and deputies are able to make their views heard in the same way as their fellow MPs from the 46 other parliaments of the member states of the Council of Europe. I hope they will do so next Tuesday in the course of the debate on this report concerning the Russian Federation's honouring of its commitments.”