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PACE May Consider Idea to Strip Russian Delegation of Mandate At Fall Session - Duma Deputy

MOSCOW. Sept 3 (Interfax) - The participants in the autumn session of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) to open in Strasbourg on September 28 are to consider the deprivation of the Russian delegation of its mandate because of Moscow's position on Abkhazia and South Ossetia, Leonid Slutsky, a deputy head of the Russian delegation at PACE and a deputy head of the Russian State Duma international affairs committee, told Interfax.

"The Georgian delegation at the Assembly, with support from a number of fringe deputies from other counties, has collected the necessary number of signatures to put the issue of stripping the Russian delegation of its mandate on the Assembly agenda," Slutsky said.

However, "the Council of Europe and its Assembly are fed up with the so-called Russian-Georgian dossier, and there are reasons to expect that this issue would either be somehow qualitatively transformed or would subside," he said.

"Being aware of the deputies' attitudes in the Assembly political groups, it would be unwise to say that most deputies may support the idea to deprive the Russian delegation of its powers," he said.

"This issue is likely to dissolve in a report on Russia's compliance with its obligations to the Council of Europe, which is to be considered at the Assembly's January session," Slutsky said.

Paris will host a so-called mini-session of PACE at the beginning of next week, Slutsky said. The Assembly Bureau will draft an agenda of the autumn session on September 7, the Monitoring Commission will consider Russian-Georgian relations on September 9, and the Political Commission will consider drafts of a report and a resolution on the famine in the Soviet Union in the 1930s, he said.

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