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Georgia rejects Russia's request to inspect military facilities

RIA Novosti

22/01/2009 16:01 TBILISI, January 22 (RIA Novosti) - Georgia has refused to allow Russian experts access to military installations on its territory, the Georgian Foreign Ministry said on Thursday.

Russia requested on January 19 and 21 that Georgia allow its experts access to Georgian military installations for evaluation and verification inspections in accordance with a 1999 Vienna OSCE document on confidence and security-building measures.

"There are no guarantees that Russia will not attempt again to conduct aggressive actions and to use information obtained during the inspections to harm Georgia's national interests," the ministry said in a statement.

Russia and Georgia fought a five-day war last August after Georgian forces attacked South Ossetia in an attempt to regain control over the breakaway republic. In response, Russia launched a military operation to eject Georgian troops from the region.

Two weeks after the end of the war, Russia recognized South Ossetia and Abkhazia, another rebel region, as independent states. Abkhazia and South Ossetia split from Georgia in the early 1990s, and most residents of both republics have had Russian citizenship for a number of years. Moscow and Tbilisi have not had direct diplomatic relations since.

Russia accused Georgia of receiving arms from foreign countries, including Ukraine, during the conflict.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has signed a decree banning exports of military products and dual-purpose technology to Georgia. Under the document, effective through December 1, 2011, the Russian government is to develop ways to restrict military cooperation with countries supplying Russian or Soviet-made arms to Georgia.

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