Council of Europe representative to visit Moscow

President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) Rik Daems will meet with Russian parliamentarians to discuss

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Photo: Council of Europe

President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) Rik Daems will meet with Russian parliamentarians to discuss human rights issues in Eurasia.

The Strasbourg-based Council of Europe is a 47-member human rights watchdog organisation of European and Eurasian states, including Russia. Relations between PACE and Russia only normalised last year after a suspension of Russia’s voting and speaking rights in the Assembly following Moscow’s 2014 annexation of Crimea. Russia returned in 2019 when PACE voted to abolish future suspensions as a sanction for all members.

The Russian-backed ceasefire agreement over Nagorno-Karabakh signed on November 9 is likely to be high on the agenda, given the failure of three prior ceasefires. The agreement has been widely derided in Armenia but celebrated in Azerbaijan as a major victory.

Future military clashes are unlikely given the presence of Russian peacekeeping troops in Nagorno-Karabakh. Neither Yerevan nor Baku are willing to poke the Russian bear. Rather, Armenia is likely to petition the European Court of Human Rights—which PACE oversees—to pressure Azerbaijan’s compliance with the rights of ethnic-Armenians remaining in the region. Beyond that, PACE’s influence Is likely limited.

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