Lord Judd Resigns as PACE Rapporteur for Chechnya

Lord Judd has announced his resignation as a rapporteur for Chechnya and a member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) responsible for the situation in Chechnya.

Lord Judd asked for the floor and made his announcement during a Thursday discussion of Iraq at the PACE winter session in Strasbourg.

He explained his decision by saying he had been so engrossed in the problems of the Chechen Republic during the Wednesday session of the Political Commission for Chechnya that he had failed to notice that his wording about the lack of proper conditions for an all-Chechen referendum contained no indications that it was necessary to postpone it.

He said also that he had tried to correct his mistake, but the assembly had nevertheless passed a wording that he could not agree with. He told his PACE colleagues that he had made "a big mistake" and insisted, once again, that it would not be possible to hold the referendum on March 23.

Leonid Slutsky, the deputy Chairman of the International Committee of the State Duma /the lower house of the Russian parliament/ who heads the Russian delegation to PACE from today, took up the word after Lord Judd to say the referendum would be held in due time and in full accordance with all the necessary norms.

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