PACE to discuss depriving Russia of its vote
By Temuri Kiguradze
Tuesday, September 29Moscow has confirmed that the question of the depriving Russia of its voting rights at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) will be discussed on October 1. This initiative was proposed by the Georgian PACE delegation and has gained the support of 72 European MPs.
It is proposed that Russia be stripped of its right to vote at PACE meetings because it has not fulfilled PACE’s resolution concerning Georgia, which urged Moscow to demilitarise the conflict zones and renounce its decision to recognise Abkhazia and South Ossetia as ‘independent states’. Russia has previously denied that this matter would be discussed, saying that the Georgian delegation “had not been able to gain the support” of European MPs.
The PACE autumn session began in Strasbourg on Monday, and Georgian delegation has stated that it expects “serious debate and struggle” with the members of the Russian delegation, as one of the issues discussed will be a resolution based on a report concerning the situation in the Georgian conflict regions one year after the August war. “It’s very important for PACE to adopt a document that will reaffirm its support of Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty,” Georgian MP Goka Gabashvili said before the start of the session. The Russia-Georgia debates are scheduled for today, when the new resolution on the situation in Georgia will be discussed, in which Russia is urged to fulfill all the responsibilities it took on under the ceasefire agreement and other documents and act in accordance with previous PACE resolutions.
In his speech opening the session PACE head Luis Maria de Puig urged its members “to think well” before making their choice in Thursday’s vote on depriving the Russian delegation of its PACE vote in relation to Moscow's stance on South Ossetia and Abkhazia. He invited them to think whether they have done everything possible to resolve this issue another way and whether they are making a correct choice. They should also consider whether this choice permits PACE to go forward “or simply closes the door for the Russian delegation,” Puig said.
At a press conference prior to the session’s opening Puig appealed to the leaders of Georgia and Russia to address the assembly and state their positions. The PACE President said that the Assembly wanted to act as a mediator in this conflict.