Diplomat Dismisses Rumors That Russia Will Soon Withdraw from Council of Europe

Twenty-five years after joining the Council of Europe Russia is set to actively cultivate cooperation with the organization and its member-states, and the rumors on its imminent withdrawal are unfounded, Russia’s Permanent Representative to the Council of Europe Ivan Soltanovsky told TASS on Sunday.

“The media regularly circulate rumors without any real basis that Russia will soon withdraw from the Council of Europe. Such escalation of the situation does not benefit the common cause,” Soltanovsky stated.

The diplomat noted that although the coronavirus situation has seriously limited the possibilities for physical contacts, this did not hinder plans on arranging a trip of Secretary General of the Council of Europe Marija Pejcinovic Buric to Russia in October 2020.

In December, President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe Hendrik Daems paid a brief visit to Moscow and is planning on returning to Russia in the near future. In February, Director General of Human Rights and Rule of Law of the Council of Europe Christos Giakoumopoulos visited Moscow.

“Despite the pandemic, contrary to the wishes of Russophobes, we keep working in full, defending Russian national interests, despite the noticeably increased pressure on our country, including on European international platforms. The key to success is confidence in one’s own righteousness, calmness and an over-the-horizon vision of prospects,” he stated.

Over the past 25 years of its membership in the Council of Europe Russia has made a real contribution to the organization’s work and is ready to expand cooperation to address new pan-European challenges, especially in the fight against COVID-10 and vaccination, Soltanovsky told. “Of course, we consider fight against the coronavirus pandemic in the world as a priority issue. We are ready to cooperate with the CoE in the field of vaccination and stand for ensuring equal access for everyone to certified vaccines on the European continent,” Soltanovsky said.

The diplomat sees a great potential of cooperation in the fields of artificial intelligence, ecology, biotechnology, in which “a great deal of expertise has been accumulated.”

“In general, the number of pan-European challenges and threats is on the rise, new technologies do not only make life easier for the population, but also go hand in hand with inevitable human rights violations, attempts to manipulate and impose restrictions by developers, providers and Internet giants. Finding worthy solutions is possible only through joint efforts,” he stressed.