‘We must continue our dialogue, focusing on issues of mutual interest', President says in St Petersburg

Addressing the press in Saint Petersburg, where he is attending the meetings of the CIS Inter-parliamentary Assembly, PACE President this morning referred to the relationship between the Parliamentary Assembly and the Russian Parliament and expressed his conviction that dialogue must continue, focusing in priority on issues of mutual interest and concern.

“In the margins of the CIS Assembly meetings, I am holding some bilateral meetings with the Speakers of CIS member states and, of course, our Russian hosts. Yesterday, I met Mr Volodin, Speaker of the State Duma. We had a comprehensive discussion on a wide range of subjects. We agreed that it is essential to shape an international and Pan-European response to the challenges Europe is facing today, in particular, the terrorist threat, the refugee crisis, instability on Europe’s borders, as well as fight against any type of criminal trafficking. No country alone can effectively respond to these challenges. Therefore, we must work together – among 47 member states of the Council of Europe as well as with Europe’s immediate neighbours”, Mr Agramunt said.

“Naturally, we discussed the relationship between the Parliamentary Assembly and the Russian Parliament. We share the positive assessment of the results of the recent exchange of views in the Assembly’s Standing Committee held in Madrid. Our discussion there showed that there are many issues of mutual interest and concern which we have to discuss and on which we have to work together, as a Pan-European Parliamentary Assembly”, he underlined.

“Yet, I cannot say that in Madrid we agreed on all fronts. Difficult issues, in particular relating to the conflict in Ukraine, continue to be an area of disagreement between the Parliamentary Assembly and the Russian Parliament. Nevertheless, I am convinced that we have to continue our dialogue, focusing – in priority - on issues of mutual interest and concern. I mentioned three of them – fighting terrorism, addressing the refugee crisis and combating international criminal trafficking – but I am sure there are many more areas”, PACE President added.

“By demonstrating that we can talk to each other and co-operate on issues of mutual concern, I believe that we will be able to re-build a climate of mutual trust and co-operation among all 47 members of the Assembly, so as to address the difficult issues of disagreement and find solutions together. I believe that this is the right way forward and I shall continue to follow this approach in my activities”, Mr Agramunt concluded.