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Increase in Troops by Russia in Abkhazia ‘not Wise’ – Solana
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 29 Apr.'08 / 23:40

Russia’s decision to send extra peacekeepers to the Abkhaz conflict zone will not help to reduce tensions, the EU foreign policy chief said after talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Luxembourg on April 29.

“Even if the increase in peacekeepers is within limits, if we want to diminish the perception of tensions, I don't think it is a wise measure to increase now,” Reuters quoted Solana as saying at a news conference.

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.

Speaking at a news conference in Luxembourg, the Russian foreign minister said that the increase in peacekeepers was within the limits set by the decision of the CIS heads of state.

RIA Novosti and Interfax news agencies quoted Lavrov as saying: “Russia is not preparing for war with Georgia, but we can cite a number of examples pointing to the fact that the Georgian leadership might have plans for a resolution of the Abkhazian and South Ossetian conflicts by force.”

He also said, according to Reuters: “If Georgia carried through on the threat it has made on a number of occasions to use force in South Ossetia and Abkhazia, we would be forced to take retaliatory measures to protect the lives of our citizens.”

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