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Council of Europe postpones decision on Russia sanctions

Staff Writer |
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) voted here Tuesday to postpone a controversial decision on removing sanctions lifted against Russia within the international organization.

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The parliamentary arm of the Council of Europe is a 47-nation international organization dedicated to upholding human rights, democracy and the rule of law.

During its autumn plenary session meeting on Tuesday, PACE members returned the proposal to the Assembly's Rules Committee for further discussion by a vote of 99 to 79, with 16 abstentions, delaying Russia's voting rights which could be restored in January 2019.

Russia was stripped of its voting rights within the PACE assembly in January 2015, and the Russian delegation has not taken part in a PACE session since the sanctions.

Council of Europe spokesperson Daniel Holtgen tweeted on Monday that 70 speakers had registered for the "all-day debate on Russia and possible changes to rules on sanctions."

On the following day, Holtgen said via Twitter again that a "last-minute motion to postpone a decision on sanctions and Russia's voting rights" had been rejected.

However, PACE rapporteur Petra de Sutter motioned for the draft resolution to be sent back to the Rules Committee in light of a profoundly divided Assembly at the conclusion of the debate.

Moscow has been fighting back against the sanctions since 2017, withholding first part and then all of its contributions to the Council of Europe budget, and threatening to quit the international human rights organization if rules are not amended to reinstate its voting rights.

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