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    EXPULSION OF RUSSIA FROM G8 IS UNLIKELY POSSIBILITY, RUSSIAN SENATOR SAYS

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    MOSCOW, APRIL 1, (RIA Novosti) - The idea to expel Russia from the Group of Eight leading industrialized nations is highly unlikely to materialize, Mikhail Margelov said in a RIA interview Thursday.

    Margelov chairs the International Affairs Committee in the Federation Council, or Russia's upper house of parliament, and is also Vice Speaker of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE). His comment comes following a U.S. House committee's approval of Resolution 336, calling for the suspension of Russia's membership in the G8.

    The idea is not a new one, but it is even farther from reality today than last November, when it emerged, Margelov said. As partnership between Russia and the United States develops, the range of issues on which they see eye to eye is becoming broader. Just one testament to this fact is the recent meeting between U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell and the newly appointed Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, at which the two chief diplomats reaffirmed their governments' determination to expand cooperation. The visit to Moscow of a U.S. Senate delegation, led by Trent Lott, is another proof. The American Senators and their Russian counterparts then agreed, within the framework of the Senate-Federation Council Working Group, to work toward removing the existing regulatory impediments to further rapprochement.

    Margelov said Resolution 336 reminded him of the State Duma's recent appeal to NATO to release the former Serb leader Slobodan Milosevic, charged with genocide and war crimes by the Hague Tribunal.

    Both documents are declarations unlikely to yield any practical result; "they are akin to grumbling, against which, as is known, arguments are impotent," the Russian lawmaker noted.

    Russia became a member of the G8 club not because someone wanted it to join in, but because without her, this club would have been incomplete, Margelov emphasized.

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