Bulgaria's FM Calls for PACE Dialogue with Russia
Bulgarian Foreign Minister Daniel Mitov on Monday said dialogue was needed with the Russian representatives to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE).
After speaking before the assembly, Mitov told reporters the Council of Europe was "extremely concerned" with Russia's decision not to attend the sessions.
"We are trying to keep doors open to talks, but it is necessary to state the reality as it is. It is clear that after the crisis in Ukraine the relations between the CoE and the Russian Federation are complicated," Dnevnik quotes him as saying.
The PACE sessions this year are being held amidst a continuous boycott by Russian representatives who have slammed the assembly for being "Russophobic" over the sanctions imposed over its activities with regard to the Ukraine crisis.
PACE earlier on Monday voted to send a mission to Crimea which would monitor the observation of human rights at the peninsula which was incorporate to Russia in 2014 following a local referendum.
Mitov reiterated Sofia's call for an end to reports on post-monitoring dialogue issued by the PACE, stressing Bulgaria is currently the single EU member state where the mechanism is still in place.
The minister also vowed that during its rotational Council of the EU Presidency (July-December, 2018) Bulgaria would seek to organize events debating ways to tackle hate speech in the media, but at the same time to make sure independence of media outlets is safeguarded.
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