The Largest Security-Cleared Career Network for Defense and Intelligence Jobs - JOIN NOW

Military

Abkhazia rules out withdrawal of Russian peacekeepers

RIA Novosti

08/07/2008 14:57 MOSCOW, July 8 (RIA Novosti) - Georgia's breakaway republic of Abkhazia will never agree to a U.S. proposal to replace Russian peacekeepers currently serving in the region with an international police force, the Abkhaz foreign minister said on Tuesday.

On Monday, the U.S. Department of State urged the prevention of a further escalation of tensions in the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict zone. The statement came after a series of bombings in Abkhazia and noted "the urgent need for an international police presence in the areas where these bombings have occurred."

"We completely disagree with this and will never allow the Russian peacekeepers to be replaced by some kind of incomprehensible police force, which in the future would support only Georgia," Sergei Shamba said.

"We have repeatedly pointed out, and this was proved yesterday, that the recent blasts in Abkhazia are connected with Georgian plans, as well as the plans of certain other countries, to replace the Russian peacekeepers with an international police force," he also said.

Abkhazia claims that Georgia is responsible for a series of explosions that have rocked the de-facto independent republic since June 30. The most recent blast hit a cafe on Sunday in the town of Gali, on the Georgian-Abkhaz border, killing four and injuring six.

Russia provides aid to Abkhazia and recently sent additional troops into the area, saying they were needed to deter new bloodshed. The pro-Western Georgian government of Mikheil Saakashvili has accused Russia of trying to annex the breakaway republic, along with another Georgian rebel republic of South Ossetia.

The U.S. Department of State also reiterated its support for Georgia's territorial integrity, and called on Russia to refrain from any "provocative" steps in the region.

"The United States reiterates its strong support for Georgia's territorial integrity... We call on Russia to reverse its recent provocative steps in Abkhazia and consult Tbilisi on any future steps in both Abkhazia and South Ossetia," the statement said.

Abkhazia broke away from Georgia in the early 1990s following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Between 10,000 and 30,000 people were killed in the subsequent fighting.



NEWSLETTER
Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list