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PACE president to resign

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Friday, April 28
Georgia’s delegation supports the resignation of the President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), Pedro Agramunt, from his post, due to his recent Syria trip with representatives of the Russian legislative body - the Duma - on March 20.

The head of Georgia’s permanent delegation to PACE, Vice Parliament Speaker, Tamar Chugoshvili, stressed that the body was nearly unanimous over the current president’s resignation, as there is now “a lot of mistrust” towards him.

“I believe it will be very important for the reputation of PACE if Agramunt resigns,” Chugoshvili is quoted as saying.

As reported by international media, PACE's Spanish president visited Syria together with members of the State Duma of the Russian Federation on March 20.

Later, Agramunt noted that it was a “private visit”, and not connected with his position as PACE chief, at the same time admitting that he should have informed representatives of other political factions of his intentions .

He suggested the problem was that the visit became the subject of manipulation by certain parts of the Russian media that did not disclose the private nature of the trip and created the impression that he supports Syrian leader Bashar Assad.

Agramunt claims that this is not true.

He stated that he visited Syria in order to see the consequences of the tragedy in Aleppo, but later he admitted that he did not go to Aleppo.

Pedro Agramunt, from the European People’s Party (EPP), was elected as PACE's president in January 2016.

PACE is one of two statutory organs of the Council of Europe. It is an international organisation dedicated to upholding human rights, democracy and the rule of law. It also oversees the European Court of Human Rights, monitors whether states keep their promises and demands answers from presidents and prime ministers. It can also recommend sanctions, according to the PACE website.

PACE is made up of 324 parliamentarians from the national parliaments of the Council of Europe’s 47 member states and generally meets four times a year for week-long plenary sessions in Strasbourg.