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Abkhazia will not allow Russian peacekeepers to be replaced with an international contingent because it fears new bloodshed
Abkhazia will not allow Russian peacekeepers to be replaced with an international contingent because it fears new bloodshed, the speaker of the self-proclaimed republic in Georgia said Wednesday. On Tuesday, the Georgian parliament passed a resolution advising the government to suspend CIS peacekeeping operations in the breakaway region of Abkhazia, which has a population of about 250,000, and take urgent measures to replace Russian peacekeepers with an international contingent. "Abkhazia will not allow Russian peacekeepers to be replaced with any international police detachments, which would later return forcibly Abkhazia and South Ossetia back to Georgia upon its orders," Nugzar Ashuba said. He added that if Georgia achieved what it wanted, a war would break out. And he warned that it would be more terrible than the previous one in the early 1990s, which claimed thousands of lives. Earlier in the day Abkhazian parliamentarians said in a statement that the resolution was "another trick energetically devised by Georgian members of parliament and will plunge the Georgian people into the abyss of war and bloodshed, taking along those who have been trying to prove their right to freedom and independence for many years." Collective peacekeeping forces from the Commonwealth of Independent States were introduced in Abkhazia under an agreement of 1994. In 12 years, 112 Russian peacekeepers have died in the conflict zone. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Georgian leader Mikheil Saakashvili could discuss the issue during a mooted meeting on the sidelines of a CIS summit due in Moscow on July 21-23. Russia assisted in concluding ceasefire agreements between Georgia and its separatist republics in the early 1990s and peacekeepers have since helped maintain ceasefire in the conflict zones.
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