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Russia Says Akhalkalaki Base Pullout Hindered, as Locals Protest
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 26 Apr.'06 / 17:41

Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mikheil Kaminin said that the process of launching the withdrawal of military hardware from the Akhalkalaki military base, scheduled for April 26, has been delayed after local residents of this predominantly ethnic Armenian populated town blocked the road on April 25 to protest against the base's pullout.
 
“The command of the base requested that the local military police ensure the safe movement of military hardware. However, the Georgian authorities refused to take any measures, citing that this is not their responsibility,” Kaminin said.
 
He said that the locals are protesting against the withdrawal of this military base because they fear that the process might trigger “a deterioration of social-economic conditions in the region.”

Kaminin also said that under the agreement signed by Tbilisi and Moscow on March 31, the Georgian side undertook a commitment to ensure the safe pullout of the bases, as well as the safe transport of military hardware and personnel.
 
“We expect that the Georgian authorities will take relevant measures in Akhalkalaki,” he added.

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