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  Saturday, December 7, 2019
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The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe opens its session here on Monday
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe opens its session here on Monday, the first after Russia’ s chairmanship at the Council of Europe's Committee of Ministers. Russia is expecting "packed and not easy debates", head of the Russian delegation, chairman of the committee on international affairs under the State Duma lower house of the Russian parliament Konstantin Kosachyov told Itar-Tass. "This week may be one of the most difficult for our country," Kosachyov added. Among the routine events of the session, he noted two upcoming reports: the threat to use supplies of fuels as a tool of political pressure, prepared by Estonian Marko Mihkelson, and problems of fair consideration by courts of criminal cases over espionage and divulging of state secrets, to be read by Cyprus representative Christos Pourgourides. In Kosachyov's view, the discussion of these themes may cast a shadow on Russia in connection with the Sutyagin case and the disruption of supplies of oil and gas to Europe via Belarus and Ukraine. "There'll be attempts to criticize Russia; but we're preparing counter arguments," the lawmaker said. PACE may also discuss Russian-Georgian relations. The PACE bureau may put the issue on the agenda of urgent debates. Kosachyov said PACE had backed Georgia's initiative to reject the Russian proposal to invite to the PACE session the presidents of the self-proclaimed republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. "It again proves that the Georgia delegation does not wish to lose the opportunity of political speculations around the Georgian-Abkhazian and Georgian-South Ossetian conflicts," Kosachyov said, adding that the Russian parliamentarians will be making all efforts to prevent the discussion of Russian-Georgian tensions at the PACE session. On the sidelines of the PACE session, the Russian delegation intends to raise the issue of Estonia's adopting the law on monuments to Soviet soldiers. "We'll try to draw the maximum attention to the problem of the glorification of nazism in a number of Baltic states, and urge the European community to make a statement about the inadmissibility of such manifestations," he said. Signature collection is underway for the initiative to put up the issue for broad PACE discussion. "The discussion of the situation cannot be delayed," Kosachyov said. The PACE session will continue until Friday, January 26.
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