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Russia calls on Georgia to remove its troops from the Kodori Gorge, a de facto border between Georgia and separatist Abkhazia
Russia calls on Georgia to remove its troops from the Kodori Gorge, a de facto border between Georgia and separatist Abkhazia, as it may trigger tensions in the region, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Monday. Georgian troops entered the Kodori Gorge to disarm a rebellious militia unit led by Emzar Kvitsiani, a former presidential envoy to Abkhazia. Georgia has maintained that it is a police operation, but Russian peacekeepers stationed in the region reported that Georgia had deployed military units in the area. "We agree with the opinion of Abkhazia that the actions of the Georgian authorities in the Kodori Gorge and their perspective plans may trigger the development of the situation according to a dangerous scenario, a new escalation of tensions and an unpredictable confrontation," the ministry said in a statement. The Abkhaz foreign minister said last week that Georgia could be using the report about Kvitsiani's alleged presence in Abkhazia as a pretext for an invasion of the republic. "All the speculation about Kvitsiani hiding on our territory makes us believe that Georgia could exploit it for military intrusion of Abkhazia," Sergei Shamba said. The ministry said that "Russia calls on Georgia to withdraw its troops from the Kodori Gorge and resume the negotiating process within the framework of the current formats to create conditions for progressing by way of peaceful and political resolution of the Georgian-Abkhazian conflict." The breakaway region declared independence in 1992, which led to a conflict with Georgia that ended with a ceasefire two years later. Thousands died during the fighting.
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