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Russia may 'take a break' from PACE over voting rights move

MOSCOW, September 4 (RIA Novosti) - A senior legislator said on Friday that Russia may be forced to "take a break" from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe if a Georgian proposal to deprive Moscow of its voting rights goes ahead.

Konstantin Kosachyov, who also heads Russia's delegation in PACE, said Georgia had announced that it plans to put forward the proposal during the Assembly's next parliamentary session on September 28.

Kosachyov said if the proposal is approved then he "would recommend taking a break in relations with PACE" as he sees "no reason to participate in Parliamentary Assembly sessions without having the ability to influence decisions."

He said that during a monitoring session, scheduled for September 9, the committee was expected to adopt a report on the August 2008 war between Georgia and Russia that Kosachyov described as "alarming."

He said that PACE appeared to be taking a passive stance on the conflict, which started when Georgia launched an attack on South Ossetia. After driving Georgian troops out, Russia recognized the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, another former Georgian republic.

Kosachyov said Georgia's role in the conflict had not been fully discussed and analyzed, with the international community focusing on the actions of Russia.

"If any initiatives emerge that contain a repressive character in relation to our delegation [in PACE], we will report this to the leaders of both houses of parliament [in Russia] and request a subsequent directive," he said.

Kosachyov also said that PACE did not represent the entire Council of Europe and that Russia would continue to participate in the organization's activities.

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