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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

RUSSIA WILL NOT ACCEPT ULTIMATUMS

RIA Novosti

MOSCOW, March 11 (RIA Novosti) - Mikhail Margelov, chairman of the International Committee of the Federation Council (the upper house of the Russian Parliament), regrets the decision taken by the Georgian Parliament the day before on the withdrawal of two Russian bases from Georgia.

"In my opinion, such flatness in relations between Moscow and Tbilisi is unacceptable," he told RIA Novosti on Friday.

According to the committee chairman, there are a lot of political problems, let alone the technical difficulties of withdrawal. "One should not forget that when one power leaves another fills its place. Vacuum is quickly filled. I think that, taking into consideration Russia's services to Georgia, Moscow has the right to demand guarantees that the withdrawal, in political sense, would not be used as a reason to allow the deployment of troops of a third country or to take some other extreme action," he stressed.

According to Mr. Margelov, one should not forget about the Chechen problem and the unclear position of Georgia over the Pankisi Gorge.

"Georgia wants Russia to withdraw troops as soon as possible, and Moscow has no reason or desire to resist it. However, it would be only fair to put in a claim in response, demanding guarantees that Georgia would stop posing a terrorist threat to Russia," Mr. Margelov said.

The committee chairman also said that Moscow had "other methods of pressurizing Tbilisi," apart from military bases. "And the Georgian attitude towards Russia is playing against both Moscow and Tbilisi," he noted.

There are two Russian bases in Georgia: in Batumi (Adzharia) and Akhalkalaki (Georgian-Armenian border). The headquarters of the Group of Russian Forces in Transcaucasia is stationed in Tbilisi. The resolution taken the day before stipulates the deadline - May 15 - for determining the date for the Russian troop withdrawal. Otherwise they would be "outlawed."



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