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4 Oct, 2007 12:42

PACE turns deaf ear to issue of U.S. ABMs in Europe

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has refused to consider the issue of U.S. missile defence bases in Europe during its session in Strasbourg.

Russia brought up this issue before the Assembly hoping to focus on the political consequences of such a move.

Moscow sees the bases as a threat to Russia's national security.

The head of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Russian State Duma, Konstantin Kosachev, said that this situatuion seems very strange to him, as Russia's initiative was recently supported by all the political groups and by the Bureau of the Assembly, so the voting in the plenary hall was supposed to be a formal one.

“In my opinion, the real reason is that the outcome of this discussion could be rather uncomfortable for the U.S. and for the Czech Republic and the Polish governments, because public opinion clearly opposes plans to deploy the missile defence systems in these two countries, and the Parliamentary Assembly could not ignore the existing state of public opinion. I have no proof for that, but I think that the U.S., which is not interested in having a discussion in this format, used their connections in the different national delegations in order to cancel the decision of the Bureau,” Konstantin Kosachev commented to Russia Today.

He also expressed his regret about such a decision of the Assembly and added that agreement has been reached with members of other delegations, including the Czech and the Polish ones, to resume the initiative during the next PACE session in January.