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  Thursday, November 21, 2019
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US is ready to fund the withdrawal of two Russian military bases from Georgia
The United States is ready to fund the withdrawal of two Russian military bases from Georgia, a US official said on Tuesday. "The United States has done it in the past, we are ready to continue the process in the future in order to prompt the pullout..." Lynn Pascoe, US deputy assistant secretary of state, told a joint press conference with Georgian interim leader Nino Burdzhanadze. The United States, which has been trying to expand its militarypresence to Eastern Europe, Central Asia and some former Soviet territories, has urged Russia to withdraw its military bases from Georgia. Relations between Georgia and Russia would become "more good-neighborly" if Russia would pull out the bases, said Burdzhanadze,adding that Russian leadership had pledged to do so. "Naturally, the withdrawal of the bases over 11 or 14 years as the Russian side insists is unacceptable for Georgia," Pascoe said. Russia has maintained troops in Georgia since the Soviet era. It has removed two military bases from the former Soviet republic under an agreement with Georgia in 1999, but has left two others in operation. Russia argues that withdrawal of the remaining bases would takeat least 11 years. But Georgia believes Russia is capable of removing them within three years.
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