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    Russia says hopes for dialogue with Georgia at PACE

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    Russia hopes to hold talks with Georgia during an upcoming session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in late September, a senior Russian lawmaker said on Thursday.

    MOSCOW, September 18 (RIA Novosti) - Russia hopes to hold talks with Georgia during an upcoming session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in late September, a senior Russian lawmaker said on Thursday.

    "We are hoping for dialogue with the Georgian delegation at the next PACE session, and have no plans to challenge Georgia's authority," said Mikhail Margelov, head of the upper house's international affairs committee.

    Russia and Georgia fought a brief five-day conflict last month after the Caucasus state attacked breakaway South Ossetia in an attempt to retake the region.

    Margelov also said that a statement signed by 24 PACE parliamentarians on September 12 proposing Russia be deprived of its membership to the Council of Europe was a provocation.

    "We believe this is a provocation, not just against the Russian delegation, Russia's parliament and Russian people, but against the Council of Europe," Margelov said.

    Earlier in the week Konstantin Kosachyov, the head of the State Duma's international affairs committee, said that the Russian delegation to PACE may recommend pulling out of the organization if Russia's membership is suspended.

    "If a decision is made to suspend the powers of the [Russian] delegation, I will recommend to the government not to remain in the Council of Europe," Kosachyov said.

    The autumn session of PACE will take place in Strasbourg between September 29 and October 3.

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