U.S. Calls on Russia to Reconsider Abkhaz Moves
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 1 May.'08 / 10:29

The United States has called on Russia “to reconsider” its decision to increase the level of its peacekeeping troops in breakaway Abkhazia.

“Some of these Russian actions in terms of troop buildups along the border certainly risk destabilizing the region, and we would ask Russia to reconsider some of the steps that they have taken recently,” Sean McCormack, a spokesman of the U.S. Department of State, said at a press briefing on April 30. “We have asked them to reconsider some of the statements that they have made recently.”

“On the Georgian side, we haven’t seen any similar buildups,” he added. “They’ve had normal troop rotations through the Kodori Valley. And, frankly, the Georgian Government has taken responsible steps in terms of reaching out to citizens of those regions, both South Ossetia and as well as to Abkhazia.”

He also reiterated the U.S.'s “unshakeable commitment” towards Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.

Dana Perino, a White House spokesperson, said on April 30 that the United States was “concerned about the situation.” “We respect Georgia's territorial integrity, and we would urge everyone to maintain a level of dialogue, rather than take any further action,” she said.

The Russian MoD said in a statement issued on April 29 that the Georgian side’s “provocative acts” against the Russian peacekeepers, as well as the deployment of additional Georgian troops in the conflict zone, had forced it to increase the number of its peacekeepers in the Abkhaz conflict zone. It did not specify the numbers involved, but said they were within the limits set by “international agreements in the frames of decisions of the Council of leaders of CIS member-states.”

The August 22, 1994 decision of CIS heads of state reads that the number of peacekeepers in the Abkhaz conflict zone should be 2,500-3,000.

Officials in Tbilisi said on April 30 that heavy artillery, armored vehicles, and additional military units had already crossed the Georgian-Russian border at the Psou River into the breakaway region.

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