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Georgia seeks to deprive Russia of its PACE voting rights

By Temuri Kiguradze
Monday, September 14
Georgia has proposed to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) that Russia be deprived of its voting rights in the organisation, Georgian PACE delegation member Georgi Gabashvili said on Friday, as quoted by Russian and Georgian media.

“I’m not quite sure when this was proposed; however the head of the Georgian [PACE] delegation should have done it this week. The decision to this had been made, only some procedures were left,” stated Gabashvili on September 11, as quoted by the Russian RIA-Novosti news agency.

Russian officials state that the Georgian delegation didn’t gain the support of PACE delegates for this proposal. Konstantin Kosachev, who heads the Russian delegation, stated that PACE's Monitoring Committee had failed to back a Georgian proposal to deprive Russia of the right to vote at the September PACE session. "The most radical proposal, introduced with the idea of depriving the Russian delegation of its powers, did not go through," stated Kosachev. However Georgian MP Davit Darchiashvili, who is also a member of the Georgian PACE delegation, has stated that Kosachev “lies” when he states that PACE voted down Georgia’s proposal. “Our delegation has already collected the necessary number of signatures for the proposal. The Georgian delegation has appealed to the Assembly to remove Russia’s voting right due to its refusal to honour the 2008 and 2009 PACE resolutions that Russia should rescind its recognition of the Georgian breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia and stop increasing its military presence on these territories. The Georgian delegation has also pointed out that Russia hasn’t enabled international monitoring to be held in the regions and is supporting the provocations of the separatist authorities of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

“A session of the PACE Monitoring Committee is underway now, and the report of [Hungarian MP] Matyas Eorsi on Georgia is being discussed. This report sharply criticizes Russia’s actions in Georgia and the Committee has to prepare a resolution on that issue for the September 28 PACE session. Georgia’s proposal has not yet been discussed in PACE yet and now we’re searching for the proper forms and dates on which to pose this question,” Darchiashvili told The Messenger on September 13.

“It’s quite senseless to speculate whether Georgia’s proposal has been accepted or not. As far as we know the details of this proposal are being discussed now by the PACE Monitoring Committee and the results of these discussions will be made public later,” Sergi Kapanadze, head of the Department of International Organisations of Georgian Foreign Ministry, told The Messenger on Sunday.

In October 2008 PACE discussed depriving Russia of its voting rights in the organisation, but no vote was taken on the issue. In January 2009 the Parliament Assembly stated that Russia had not fulfilled the majority of PACE demands concerning the situation in Georgia. On September 28, PACE will discuss the issue of Russia’s actions in the conflict zones again.

Moscow has already reacted to the possible removal of its PACE voting rights. The Kremlin has stated that Russia may “take a break” in its relations with PACE if Georgia’s proposal is accepted. "I see no reason to participate in Parliamentary Assembly sessions without having the ability to influence decisions," stated Konstantin Kosachev on September 4. "If any initiatives emerge that contain a repressive character in relation to our delegation [at PACE], we will report this to the leaders of both Houses of Parliament [in Russia] and request a subsequent directive," he said.