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PACE Deprives Russia Of Voting Rights


Aleksei Pushkov, the head of the Russian delegation to PACE, condemned the resolution, adding that Moscow will not "urgently revise its foreign policy and principles."
STRASBOURG, France -- The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) has deprived the Russian delegation of its voting rights in the body.

PACE passed a resolution on April 10 making the recommendation, with 145 votes in favor, 21 against, and 22 abstentions.

The Russian delegation boycotted the debate in plenary session.

All four of the Armenian delegates voted against the resolution as did four of Turkey's nine delegates. Three of Serbia's seven delegates also voted against the resolution and three of France's eight delegates.

Others who voted against the resolution were two Finnish delegates and one member each from the German, Greek, Hungarian, Iceland, and Moldovan delegations.

Moscow will now lose its voting rights until the end of the 2014 session.

The delegation also loses the rights to be represented in the Bureau of the Assembly, the PACE Presidential Committee, the PACE Standing Committee, and the rights to participate in election-observation missions.

The assembly also adopted an amendment that states that the assembly "reserves the right to annul the credentials" of the Russian delegation, if Moscow "does not de-escalate the situation and reverse the annexation of Crimea."

Russia Condemned Over Crimea

On April 9, the assembly passed a resolution condemning Russia for its annexation of the Ukrainian region of Crimea, saying the referendum on joining Russia violated the Ukrainian Constitution.

The parliament members passed the resolution following an urgent meeting in Strasbourg. The resolution said that none of the arguments used by Russia to justify its actions "hold true to facts."

It said ultra-right-wing forces had not seized central Kyiv and no immediate threat to the rights of ethnic Russian-speaking minorities exists in Ukraine, including and especially in Crimea.

"The drive for secession and integration into the Russian Federation was instigated and incited by the Russian authorities, under the cover of a military intervention," the resolution stressed.

Danish lawmaker Michael Aastrup Jensen said, "Suspending voting rights is a clear warning to [Russian President Vladimir] Putin and his regime."

PACE also recognized the new government in Kyiv as legitimate, saying the "change of power has opened a window of opportunity for Ukraine's democratic development."

Following the vote, Aleksei Pushkov, the head of the Russian delegation to PACE, condemned the resolution, adding that Moscow will not "urgently revise its foreign policy and principles."

Pushkov said Russia was withdrawing its participation and delegation for the remainder of the April session in protest at the decision. He said Russia would review its further participation in PACE.

The adopted resolution was based on a report on recent developments in Ukraine by two rapporteurs of PACE's Monitoring Committee.

Russia has condemned that report as well.

"This is an appalling document, which calls white black and black white," Leonid Slutsky, deputy head of the Russian delegation, was quoted as saying by ITAR-TASS.
With reporting by Interfax and ITAR-TASS
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