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Naryshkin Urges Council of Europe to Take Russia Back

State Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin Vedomosti

State Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin has sent a letter to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe asking for the rights of the council's Russian delegation to be restored.

Russia was suspended from the council in April for its annexation of Crimea, with delegation members deprived of the right to vote in the human rights body and take part in election observation missions until the end of 2014.

In the letter published Wednesday, Naryshkin calls on parliamentary members of the 47-nation council "not to make new mistakes" if they really want to resolve the Ukraine crisis, RIA Novosti reported.

"We all need to restore trust," the letter reads. "It is important to listen and hear each other, no matter how difficult it seems. That is why I am calling on all of my colleagues in Strasbourg to listen to the voice of reason."

Naryshkin also stressed the need for urgent talks on the situation in Ukraine, noting that Russia should be included in discussions on the issue.

The head of the Russian delegation, Alexei Pushkov, reacted strongly to the suspension of Russian members in April, calling the move "political extremism."

"Demands to deprive Russia of its mandate are political extremism and a path to the 'Cold War' and the end of Europe-wide parliamentary dialogue," Pushkov wrote on Twitter at the time.

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