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    Russian MPs propose reducing Russian presence in PACE

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    MOSCOW, June 29 (RIA Novosti) - Members of the Russian parliament's lower chamber, the State Duma, proposed Wednesday to cut back on the number of Russian delegates to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in reaction to the body's criticism of Russia.

    Deputies also backed the revocation of Russia's signature on the treaty on the state border with Estonia.

    Referring to differences that Russian delegates expressed at the most recent PACE session, Deputy Speaker Sergei Baburin, representing the Homeland faction, suggested at a plenary session that the committees for international affairs and security "work on the issue of reducing Russia's presence in PACE".

    "Russia must respond to this hostile and Russophobic act," Baburin said.

    Another Homeland member, Alexander Fomenko, said PACE had "struck a serious blow". He proposed reducing the financial contribution that Russia made to PACE besides cutting back on the number of Russian delegates to PACE.

    Speaker Boris Gryzlov, from the United Russia faction, said: "The problem is clear and the relevant order would be quite relevant. We must prepare it." Decisions on such orders are usually made at the end of a working day.

    Yelena Afanasyeva, a member of the Liberal Democratic Party faction, supported the Russian Foreign Ministry's statement on revoking Russia's signature on the border treaty with Estonia. "This will secure Russia from further financial and territorial claims," she said. "It's time to act and not talk. The Foreign Ministry has already started to act."

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