On 9 September 2019, the Latvian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Edgars Rinkēvičs, met with Liliane Maury Pasquier, President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE).
The Foreign Minister appreciated the role undertaken by the Council of Europe to create a common legal space in Europe with the aim of strengthening a shared understanding of standards for human rights, democracy and the rule of law. The Minister underlined once again that the decision taken at the PACE session in June on the unconditional resumption of work of the Russian parliamentary delegation is unacceptable to Latvia. Russia has not fulfilled a single earlier resolution by PACE on Crimea and Eastern Ukraine and it has failed to take any action towards resolution of the conflict and ensuring compliance with international law. Considering that this is also a time when the Council of Europe marks its 70th anniversary, such a decision undermines trust in the organisation, and undermines its fundamental principles and values. Latvia cannot accept the organisation’s values being traded for Russia’s contributions to the Council of Europe budget.
Edgars Rinkēvičs informed PACE President Pasquier that Latvia continues working together with like-minded Council of Europe members to see that Russia honours its commitments and obligations, including requirements specified in the relevant PACE resolution. A major step in that direction was a meeting of representatives from like-minded PACE delegations at the Saeima (the Latvian Parliament) on 6 September 2019.
The meeting was arranged on the initiative of Inese Lībiņa-Egnere, Deputy Speaker of the Saeima of the Republic of Latvia and Head of the Latvian delegation to PACE, in order to discuss and coordinate future action on the issue of Russia’s return to PACE.
The PACE President Liliane Maury Pasquier commended the activities of Latvia as a Council of Europe member state in safeguarding democracy and human rights. She also praised the active work by the Latvian delegation to PACE.
The Council of Europe, established in 1949, is the oldest political organisation in Europe, bringing together 47 member states. The aim of the Council is to uphold human rights, parliamentary democracy and the rule of law, to achieve uniform social and legal standards, to promote understanding of European identity and values stemming from the cultures of various European nations. Latvia joined the Council of Europe in 1995.
PACE is one of the Council of Europe’s largest and most prominent bodies, which brings together parliamentarians from the Council of Europe member states for regular sessions.
The President of PACE, Liliane Maury Pasquier, is on a visit in Latvia to take part in the “5th Parliamentary Conference on implementing standards of the European Convention on Human Rights: Key role of national parliaments”, which also deals with effective enforcement of judgements by the European Court of Human Rights.
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