Georgia

Georgia: Shevardnadze refuses to prolong the peacekeepers' mandate

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(Tbilisi, January 13, 2003. Civil Georgia) - "I will not prolong Russian peacekeepers' mandate in the Abkhazian conflict zone, in case Russia does not close down railway communication with Abkhazia," Georgian President Shevarnadze said at the briefing and in his radiobroadcast today.
"Russia's unilateral decision to reopen railway link with Georgia's separatist region of Abkhazia, without any notification of the Georgian side and issuance of the Russian passports to the population living in Abkhazia is the violation of numerous international conventions and an attempt at annexation [of Abkhazia]," Eduard Shevardnadze stated.

President said that the Georgian Transport Minister Merab Adeishvili would visit Moscow in the nearest days to discuss the issue with the Russian authorities.

"Officials in Moscow say that the railway was reopened with the private companies' initiative. But the railways are state-owned both in Russia and in Georgia ," President Shevardnadze said.

The first train in last decade went from Russia's Black Sea city of Sochi to Abkhaz capital Sukhumi on December 25, 2002.

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