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STRASBOURG, September 30 (Itar-Tass) - The Council of Europe may cancel its activities in Georgia for two years because of its refusal to grant admittance to the member of the delegation of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) from Russia Vasily Likhachev, head of the Russian delegation to PACE, chairman of the International Affairs Committee at the State Duma lower house of parliament Alexei Pushkov told journalists on Monday.
“The delegate was heading to Tbilisi for a pre-election mission. The Georgian side informed PACE leadership that he could not be admitted, because this year he had visited Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and under Georgia’s current legislation, those who have visited these countries, are denied entry to Georgia,” said Pushkov. However, he pointed out, Georgia had pledged not to obstruct activities of the PACE members in the country within the framework of the Council of Europe events.
In this connection, Pushkov informed, the Bureau of the Assembly has discussed the issue of the imposition of sanctions on Tbilisi for this, because a similar incident had taken place three years ago. “If such sanctions are imposed, the Council of Europe would not carry out any activities in the territory of Georgia,” he explained.
“It has been decided to refer the case to the Committee on Rules of Procedure, which is to acknowledge the violation fact and present its recommendations on sanctions at a meeting in Vienna in late November,” the parliamentarian added.
Last week the Russian delegation left the UN General Assembly Hall on Wednesday while Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili was making his speech: Saakashivili started criticizing the Russian authorities and Russia’s policy on the post-Soviet space.