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  Thursday, September 19, 2019
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Russia will not sit idle if Georgia threatens its military bases there
Russia will not sit idle if Georgia threatens its military bases there, warned Sergei Lavrov, Minister of Foreign Affairs, while addressing the State Duma, parliament's lower house. "If we see anything done to threaten our bases or thwart their essential supplies, and so to endanger Russian nationals' life-to say nothing of ammunition getting into the wrong hands, we shall not shrug it off, I assure you." Russia will not succumb to Georgia intimidating and blackmailing it to bring the desired base pullout closer. "We shall not promote Georgia's domestic policies, the way they are now. Related negotiations are underway, and all our constructive offers have reached the Georgian party." The two countries are coordinating between themselves their stances on the base pullout, and related documents are under analysis, added the Foreign Minister. Lavrov answered questions from the media after his parliamentary address. He said he hoped Russia and Georgia would not have to interrupt the negotiations. "I hope all emotional outbreaks will turn into practical politics, and we shall not have to leave the negotiating table." If no progress is made on the disputed deadline for Russian military base withdrawal from Georgia, the host country's parliament will introduce drastic measures, starting May 15, in the respect of the Russian military contingent, as a resolution of March 10 envisages. That warning came today from Nino Burdzhanadze, Georgian parliament Speaker. As the document she mentioned has it, Russia is to dismantle and totally remove its military bases in Batumi, on the Black Sea coast, and Akhalkalaki, close to Tbilisi, before January 1, 2006. The resolution entitles Georgia's government to make a number of steps ensuring the bases pulled out as soon as possible-in particular, suspend visa issuance to the Russian military, and introduce stringent arrangements for their travel.
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