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Agramunt Resigns As PACE President After Syria Trip With Russian Lawmakers

Spanish politician and PACE delegate Pedro Agramunt
Spanish politician and PACE delegate Pedro Agramunt

BRUSSELS -- Spanish politician Pedro Agramunt has announced his resignation as president of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE).

His resignation on October 6 came just three days before the assembly was due to vote on his dismissal.

The motion was scheduled after Agramunt joined Russian lawmakers on a trip to Syria to meet President Bashar al-Assad earlier this year.

"Today, for personal reasons, I have decided to no longer chair the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe," Agramunt wrote on Twitter.

Agramunt, president of PACE since January 2016, was stripped of his leadership powers at a session in April.

He claimed to have traveled to Syria in his capacity as a Spanish senator and said he had first traveled to Moscow before boarding a Russian plane to the Syrian capital, Damascus.

Agramunt, widely regarded as pro-Russian, has worked to bring Moscow back into the fold of the assembly after its delegation was stripped of its voting rights in 2014.

Russia has since boycotted PACE meetings and did not register a delegation for the current assembly session that began in January.

Following Agramunt’s resignation, the vice president of the assembly, British conservative Sir Roger Gale, automatically becomes acting president.

Agramunt will remain a member of the Spanish delegation at PACE.

With reporting by Rikard Jozwiak in Brussels