PACE president:New info on Caucasus events leads to totally different discussion

Moscow (Interfax) - Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) President Luis Maria de Puig, now in Moscow on a visit, said a report he and other members of PACE's presidential committee have received throws new light on the events in South Ossetia in August 2008.

After additional information was received today, an opportunity emerges for holding a totally different discussion [at PACE's session in January] and for passing a different resolution, Luis Maria de Puig told journalists on Monday.

The PACE president answered in the affirmative the question from Interfax, whether most of the PACE members are changing their position on the August events compared to the assessment made at the October session.

It is difficult to speak for all members, De Puig said. Perhaps some will not change their position, and not become either more pro-Russian, or more anti-Russian, he added. But it looks like an overwhelming majority will be open for cooperation with Russia after additional information has been received from the Russian side, he said.

De Puig praised he the contacts he had with representatives of the Russian government and parliament.

The results of the meetings held were good, including with State Duma Speaker Boris Gryzlov Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov leader of the Russian delegation to PACE Konstantin Kosachyov and other figures, he said. A large amount of information, earlier unknown to PACE, was provided, he added.

Discussions will be held at PACE's winter session, opening January 26, on the current situation in Georgia, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and they will proceed with the additional information, received in Moscow today, taken into account, De Puig said.

The draft resolution on this issue would probably not demand that Russia disavow the recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia's independence, he said.

De Puig said that in his opinion PACE would not go deep into this matter, adding that national independence was not an issue to be tackled by PACE, but referred to the competence of the governments of the Council of Europe's member-states.

Kosachyov in turn highly appraised the talks held in Moscow by members of PACE's presidential committee and Russian officials.

"I fully agree with Mr. De Puig in that the situation has been gradually changing and that the nature of the upcoming discussion is changing, too. Whereas in October we would not always hear each other's arguments, now we are passing over to a constructive dialogue in an attempt to decide how we should move further," the Russia lawmaker said.

"If the resolution to be passed at the January session has the same tonality as today's exchange of views, the Russian delegation in a body will be ready to support it," Kosachyov said.

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