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Georgia said Thursday it would confirm the withdrawal of a Russian military base in the country only after inspecting the site
Georgia said Thursday it would confirm the withdrawal of a Russian military base in the country only after inspecting the site. "The base cannot be considered closed until proper inspections have been carried out," deputy foreign minister Merab Antadze told parliament. "Although Russia has declared that the Gudauta base has been withdrawn and shut down, Georgia and our partners do not share this opinion." The Gudauta base is located in the breakaway province of Abkhazia, so for its inspectors to get to the site, Tbilisi will have to request permission from Abkhaz authorities. Earlier this week, Alexei Borodavkin, Russia's ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, accused Tbilisi of delaying confirmation of the pullout in order to create a climate of uncertainty and tension in its relations with Russia. "The Russian military base at Gudauta is non-existent now, and Russia is willing to provide political assistance for OSCE inspectors to ascertain that fact," Borodavkin said. "Tbilisi is dragging its feet on the issue of confirming the closure of the Russian military base at Gudauta, deliberately creating uncertainty and tension around it." Under an agreement signed in March, Russia will withdraw its two remaining military bases - one in the southern city of Akhalkalaki and the other in the Black Sea port of Batumi - from Georgia by 2008. As well as 3,000 troops at the bases, Russia also has peacekeepers deployed in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Both provinces proclaimed their independence from Georgia in wars in the early 1990s. Relations between Russia and Georgia cooled after pro-Western leader Mikheil Saakashvili came into power in the ex-Soviet Caucasus nation on the back of the "rose revolution" in 2003. They were further strained after Georgia accused Russian peacekeepers of siding with separatists in its breakaway regions, and adopted a parliamentary resolution calling for their withdrawal from South Ossetia.
Print Georgia said Thursday it would confirm the withdrawal of a Russian military base in the country only after inspecting the site Bookmark Georgia said Thursday it would confirm the withdrawal of a Russian military base in the country only after inspecting the site

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