Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks and answer to a media question at a joint news conference following talks with Secretary General of the Council of Europe Marija Pejčinović Burić, Moscow, October 19, 2020

Ladies and gentlemen,

This visit by Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Marija Pejčinović Burić, draws a symbolic line under the system-wide crisis affecting the Council of Europe in 2014-2019 due to the illegal actions of a number of its Parliamentary Assembly members that run contrary to the organisation’s charter.

In the spring of last year, I met in Moscow with Secretary General Pejčinović Burić’s predecessor, Thorbjørn Jagland. The crisis was fully underway at the time. Now the situation has changed qualitatively, primarily as a result of the 129th Session of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe held in Helsinki last May.

Russian parliamentarians’ rights have been fully restored since then. The main lesson to be learned from that situation is that speaking a language of threats is unacceptable at the Council of Europe, as are ultimatums, pressure, or attempts to violate the key principles enshrined in the Council of Europe Charter, which the organisation is guided by.

Marija Pejčinović Burić’s visit takes place shortly before the 25th anniversary of Russia’s membership in the Council of Europe. We will mark this date on February 28, 2021. This is a good time to analyse where we stand and what challenges we face in the interests of further cooperation between the Council of Europe and the Russian Federation.

We have reaffirmed our interest in strengthening multilateral cooperation within the Council of Europe. Russia aims to dedicatedly participate in its work. Our country’s commitment to all of its obligations that we have taken on under the numerous conventions of this pan-European organisation remains unchanged.

What is most important for us is for the Council of Europe to remain one of the pillars of world order based on international law, and not on the “rules” established by individual countries or their non-universal organisations and alliances. The Council of Europe must justify its mission as a pan-European organization providing mechanisms and conventions that consolidate the legal and humanitarian landscape on our common continent. It is important that the various agencies of the Council of Europe are not used to promote a narrow group interests.


To be continued...