The decision taken by the Russian Federation to suspend payment of membership dues to the budget of the Council of Europe jeopardizes the functioning of the organization, stated the Acting Chairman of the Committee of Ministers, Czech Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek.
"This decision jeopardizes the proper functioning of the Council of Europe," he stressed. "This contribution is an unconditional commitment by the Russian Federation," the minister added.
Zaorálek did not predict whether this conflict could culminate in the expulsion of Russia from the Council of Europe.
"We would like Russia to remain in the Council of Europe, as long as it fulfills the obligations stemming from membership. We need to find a way out of this situation, but the Russian Federation should also contribute to finding a solution," the Committee Chairman said.
"The Committee of Ministers is closely following the situation, and I hope that this issue will be resolved in such a way that the organization will be able to effectively perform its functions with the participation of all member countries," he noted.
As is known, the State Duma of the Russian Federation had said earlier that they would punish the Council of Europe for sanctions by reducing its contribution by a third. Moscow has no plans to renew payments until it receives a guarantee on lifting of the sanctions. Russia has said that a new decision on Russia's contribution to the Council of Europe for 2018 will depend on whether the Russian delegation fully participates in the work of PACE.
Russia underpaid its contribution by about 11 million euros in 2017.