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Georgia Says Russian Base Deals Near

March 30, 2006 -- Georgian Prime Minister Zurab Noghaideli says bilateral agreements setting a timeframe and modalities for the withdrawal of Russian troops would be signed on March 31.

Noghaideli made the announcement today at the end of a cabinet meeting in Tbilisi.

He said the two agreements would be signed in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi. There was no immediate confirmation from Russia.

Georgian Foreign Minister Gela Bezhuashvili said no details would be made public until the agreements are signed.

Russia on May 30, 2005, said it would vacate the two former Soviet military bases it retains in Georgia by the end of 2008. But no formal agreement was signed.

Russia is considering transferring part of its military hardware to neighboring Armenia.

(Novosti-Gruziya, Prime News)

Copyright (c) 2006. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036. www.rferl.org

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