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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

WITHDRAWAL OF RUSSIAN BASES FROM GEORGIA IS POSSIBLE ONLY ON COMPROMISE

RIA Novosti

MOSCOW, March 22 (RIA Novosti) - The head of the State Duma committee for the CIS affairs and relations with compatriots, Andrei Kokoshin, hopes that a compromise decision will be found at the Russian-Georgian negotiations on withdrawal of the Russian military bases from Georgia.

"I hope that a decision, which will take into consideration the interests of both sides as well as the international situation will be found at the negotiations," he said at the news conference in Moscow.

Answering the question concerning the formation of an anti-terrorist center instead of the Russian military bases, which are deployed in Georgia (one - in Batumi (Adjaria) and the other one in Akhalkalaki (on the border with Armenia), Mr. Kokoshin said that such a center is necessary for the whole region. "Russia and Georgia must find here a mutually acceptable decision," the parliamentarian said.

At the present time, he continued, the State Duma is considering this issue. "We want to find such a formula which would meet the interests of the security of both Russia and Georgia," Mr. Kokoshin pointed out.

However, today's incident, when Russian peacekeepers at the administrative border between Abkhazia and Georgia brought their military equipment into a Georgian village, caused a new outburst of anti-Russian hysteria among the Georgian parliamentarians.

"The illegal bringing of heavy military equipment of the Russian peacekeepers into the Georgian village of Ganmukhuri testifies that they pose a threat to our national security," member of parliament Georgy Bokeria said.

However, according to him, the Georgian leadership is not yet ready to raise the question of withdrawing the Russian peacekeepers from the country.

"When raising such questions we must clearly see their consequences. Our closest task is to seek thewithdrawal of the Russian military bases from Georgia and then to get rid of the Russian peacekeepers," the parliamentarian said.

At the same tine, at the plenary session of the Georgian parliament on Tuesday, the opposition rebuked the pro-presidential faction, the National Movement - Democrats, that the Georgian leadership is not in a hurry to raise the question of the immediate withdrawal of the Russian peacekeepers from the country.

"In their election campaign, the representatives of the power now in force promised the people to complete the withdrawal of the Russian peacekeepers from Georgia. However, when they came to power, they are not in a hurry to do it," a member of the opposition faction, New Right-Wingers - Industrialists, Gocha Dzhodzhua, said.

As a spokesman for the Georgian Interior Ministry's press service told RIA Novosti, Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili intends to hold on Tuesday a special briefing concerning the bringing of the heavy military equipment of the Russian peacekeepers into the Georgian village of Ganmukhuri.



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