Heiko Maas
© AP/Markus Schreiber
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas
Members of the Council of Europe's Committee of Ministers have agreed that Russia will stay in the Council's Parliamentary Assembly (PACE), German top diplomat Heiko Maas said on Friday, as cited by the German Foreign Ministry's press service.

"It is a good thing that we have agreed Russia should stay in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, particularly so that millions of Russians can seek protection in the European Court of Human Rights," he added.

Maas added that he had held a meeting with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov on the sidelines of the Committee of Ministers' session. "We also discussed Ukraine, where we need Russia to make a constructive contribution, and Iran," the German foreign minister said. "We would like to preserve the nuclear deal with Iran," Maas emphasized.

Russia and the Council of Europe

Following Crimea's 2014 reunification with Russia, the country's delegation to PACE was stripped of its key rights, including the right to vote, over the situation in Ukraine and Crimea's reunification with Russia. In response, Russia suspended its participation in PACE's activities and the payment of its contribution to the Council of Europe.

Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjorn Jagland said in October 2018, that Russia's membership in the Committee of Ministers and the Parliamentary Assembly might be suspended starting from June 2019 due to non-payment of monetary contributions. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in response that Moscow would quit the Council of Europe if opposing member states called for expelling Russia.