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Train loaded with Russian arms leaves Georgia's Batumi base

RIA Novosti

16/08/2007 08:59 MOSCOW, August 16 (RIA Novosti) - A train carrying military equipment left a Russian base in Georgia early Thursday as part of a 2006 deal to withdraw all Russian bases from the ex-Soviet Caucasus state, a Russian military official said.

A spokesman for the Russian Ground Forces said the train is carrying 34 vehicles and other military hardware, totaling over 200 metric tons, from the 12th Russian military base in Batumi on the Black Sea to Armenia.

The official said another three trains and a truck convoy are scheduled to deliver part of the remaining military equipment from the Batumi base to Russia and the 102nd base in Gyumri, Armenia, by the end of the year.

Under an agreement between the former Soviet allies, Russia must complete the removal of its base in Batumi by the end of 2008.

Russia completed the pullout of its military garrison from the Georgian capital, Tbilisi, handing over control of its headquarters to Georgia's Defense Ministry last December, and formally handed over its military base at Akhalkalaki in southern Georgia to Tbilisi in June, ahead of the October 2007 deadline.

The spokesman said Russia is fulfilling all its obligations under the 2006 agreement, and is keeping strictly to the withdrawal schedule.

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