Majority in PACE presidential committee reject motion to freeze Russian delegation's powers until end of 2014

The majority of members of the presidential committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) have backed a motion to strip Russia of a vote at the April session, which is a softer option than the one proposed by Britain's Robert Walter, deputy head of the Russian delegation to PACE Leonid Slutsky told reporters on Monday.

The majority of members of the presidential committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) have backed a motion to strip Russia of a vote at the April session, which is a softer option than the one proposed by Britain's Robert Walter, deputy head of the Russian delegation to PACE Leonid Slutsky told reporters on Monday.

"If this motion passes the Assembly session, it means we shall continue work on all PACE platforms, we just won't be able to vote at the session," Slutsky said.

The draft resolution proposed by Robert Walter (the United Kingdom) cannot win the majority: it involved the freezing of the Russian delegation's powers until the end of the year, he said.

"Today one say with full certainty that the majority back a softer option and favor a constructive cooperation with the Russian delegation," Slutsky said.

The Assembly bureau is currently holding a session to decide whether the motions put forward by Walter and by Dutch Aastrup Jensen (who suggested stripping the Russian delegation of its voting right) should be considered on Wednesday or Thursday, he added.

Asked whether that means that the Russian delegation will not "slam the door," i.e. suspend its cooperation with the PACE, Slutsky said: "There will be the need to slam the door if we realize that Robert Walter's motion passes."

Possibly, sanctions with respect to our delegation will be even softer and it won't go as far as stripping us of our voting right, the deputy head of the delegation said.

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