MOSCOW, October 17 (Itar-Tass) - The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) has extended an official invitation to Russian State Duma Deputy Vasily Likhachyov, who is a member of the Russian delegation at PACE, to leave for Tbilisi on October 25 as part of a delegation of PACE monitors despite a warning by Georgia that Likhachyov’s arrival is undesirable.
“I have been notified by the PACE monitoring mission to be ready to go to Georgia to monitor a presidential election. All observers are supposed to gather in Tbilisi on October 25. In short, I have received a personal invitation,” Likhachyov told Itar-Tass on Thursday.
Likhachyov said that three days before he had received a message from Tiny Kox, the leader of the United Left political group, who assured him that he had raised the issue with the PACE leadership.
Kox allegedly got in touch with an official in the Georgian parliament and asked him to solve the question of Likhachyov’s presence in Tbilisi by October 25.
Likhachyov confirmed that if the Georgian side really denied the entry to him, the PACE monitoring commission intended to impose sanctions against Georgia and refrain from holding any events in its territory for the next two years.
“The question may be considered at a meeting in Vienna on November 5-6,” he clarified.
The Russian deputy hoped that Tbilisi would find a solution to the problem.
If Georgia does not allow Likhachyov to enter the country, he will implement his mandate in the territory of the Swiss embassy in Moscow. Switzerland is a country which represents Russia’s interests in Georgia and Georgian interests in Russia.
Early in October, Georgia sent a warning to PACE that Likhachyov’s stay in Georgia as part of the PACE electoral mission was undesirable because the deputy used to visit Abkhazia and therefore had come within the purview of the law “On Occupied Territories”.
In its letter addressed to the PACE leadership, the Georgian side warned that Likhachyov might be arrested or subject to a huge fine if he crossed the Georgian border.
The presidential election in Georgia is scheduled for October 27.