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Military

Another military convoy set to leave base in Georgia May 30

RIA Novosti

29/05/2007 14:38 MOSCOW, May 29 (RIA Novosti) - A military convoy will leave a Russian military base in Georgia Wednesday as part of a 2006 deal on the withdrawal of Russian bases from the country, a senior military official said Tuesday.

Igor Konashenkov, an aide to the Russian Ground Forces commander, said the convoy consisting of over 20 trucks will leave the Akhalkalaki base in the south of the country and head for Gyumri in neighboring Armenia, where Russia retains Military Base 102.

The Akhalkalaki base located in a region populated largely by ethnic Armenians will be completely evacuated before the end of the year, while the base in the Black Sea port of Batumi is to close by the end of 2008.

Russia completed the withdrawal of its military garrison from the Georgian capital, Tbilisi, handing over control of its headquarters to Georgia's Defense Ministry, last December.

Konashenkov also said that another military convoy, consisting of 32 carriages and carrying about 200 metric tons of cargo, will leave by rail the Batumi base on the Black Sea Thursday.

"We plan to send before the yearend 14 more convoys by rail and one convoy by road from Georgian territory to Russia and Military Base 102 [in Gyumri]," Konashenkov said.

According to the agreement between the countries, Russia must complete the removal of its bases in Georgia by the end of 2008.

Georgia's Western-leaning leadership, which is seeking to join NATO, is uneasy about Russia's continued military presence and has repeatedly urged Moscow to close its Soviet-era bases.



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