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Russia retains PACE voting rights despite Georgia motion

RIA Novosti

19:50 29/09/2009 STRASBOURG, September 29 (RIA Novosti) - A PACE commission decided on Tuesday not to adopt a Georgian motion to strip Russia of its voting rights in the organization, the Russian delegation head said.

Georgia had proposed depriving Russia of its voting rights over its recognition of breakaway Abkhazia and South Ossetia after a brief war between the ex-Soviet states last August. 72 members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe's 642 members signed the motion.

"The monitoring commission supported the Russian delegation's rights," Konstantin Kosachev said.

Kosachev said the Assembly was continuing to discuss a report on the Russia-Georgia war.

The two ex-Soviet states fought a five-day war, when Tbilisi attacked South Ossetia and Moscow ejected Georgian troops from the region. Russia later recognized both of Georgia's breakaway republics as independent states.

Germany's Spiegel reported earlier this month, citing diplomats in Brussels, that the European Union report put the blame for the start of the war on Tbilisi, but holds Russia responsible for its escalation.

Speaking at the PACE session earlier on Tuesday, Kosachev said Russia would continue to defend South Ossetia as long President Mikheil Saakashvili ruled Georgia.

"We will not stop defending the Ossetians as long as the current leadership is in power in Georgia," he said.

PACE adopted a resolution last fall calling on Russia to retract its recognition of the regions. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has called the decision irreversible.

South Ossetia and Abkhazia have also been recognized by Nicaragua and Venezuela.

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