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Moscow slams Georgia's refusal to receive Russian inspectors

RIA Novosti

22/01/2009 21:26 MOSCOW, January 22 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's Foreign Ministry said on Thursday that Georgia's refusal to allow Russian inspectors access to military installations on its territory will have political consequences.

Russia requested on January 19 and 21 that Georgia allow its experts access to Georgian military installations for evaluation and verification checks in accordance with a 1999 Vienna OSCE document on confidence and security-building measures. Georgia rejected both Russia's requests earlier on Thursday.

"This move made by Georgia contradicts the essence of the Vienna document and can not but have political consequences [in the future]," the ministry said in a statement.

The ministry also said that "Tbilisi has declared a 'force majeure' with regard to Russia for the period until Moscow has ended its occupation of Georgian territories including Abkhazia and South Ossetia."

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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