Rinkēvičs: Russians shouldn't be working for Council of Europe

On 25 May in Rīga, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Latvia, Edgars Rinkēvičs, met with the President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Tiny Kox, and the Secretary-General of the Council of Europe, Marija Pejčinović Burić.

According to a release from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), the meeting's purpose was "to reaffirm the preparedness of the Latvian Presidency of the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers for close cooperation with PACE on the strengthening of human rights, democracy and the rule of law, and the Presidency’s commitment to working on the implementation of decisions taken at the CoE Summit in Reykjavik."

The meeting was not without note. Rinkēvičs pledged determination by the Latvian Presidency of the CoE Committee of Ministers to turn the decisions of the Reykjavik Summit into actions. Support for Ukraine and Russia’s accountability will remain an important item on the agenda of the Council of Europe, he stated, and "reiterated a position that the situation with the citizens of the Russian Federation still being employed in the CoE’s institutions was unacceptable in view of the fact that the Russian Federation had been excluded from the Council of Europe."

The position echoes concerns raised by Chairman of the Saeima's Foreign Affairs Committee, Rihards Kols, back in March, when talking about Russian employees remaining in office at another body, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).   

Rinkēvičs pointed out that Latvia was among the founding members that initiated the establishment of the Register of Damage to record evidence and claims on damage and loss resulting from the Russian Federation’s aggression against Ukraine. Efforts must be made to bring the Register of Damage into play, emphasized Rinkēvičs.

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