Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Georgia promises sharp response to Russian railway troops

President Mikheil Saakashvili will call his Russian counterpart today to discuss Moscow’s decision to send hundreds of military engineers to repair separatist Abkhazia’s railways.

Tbilisi alleges that the Russian deployment is preparing the ground for the full-scale annexation of the breakaway territory. Moscow says the troops are providing humanitarian aid.

Georgian officials confirmed the planned phone call to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev after the National Security Council met yesterday. Speaking to reporters following the session, Foreign Minister Eka Tkeshelashvili said the situation in Abkhazia is grave, promising a “very sharp” response from Tbilisi. “What is essentially a military intervention is being carried out on the territory of Abkhazia, Georgia,” the foreign minister said.

She said the Georgian government would demand the engineers be pulled out, along with the roughly 1 000 troops Russia deployed in April to reinforce its "peacekeeping" contingent in Abkhazia. [More]

Sunday, June 1, 2008

President: Georgia Will Use "All Avaliable Means" to Oust Russian Peacekeeps from Abkhazia

Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili’s first meeting with new Russian leader Dmitry Medvedev in early June now promises to be a fiery affair. Armed with the findings of a UN report that holds Russia responsible for shooting down a Georgian drone over the breakaway region of Abkahzia, Saakashvili has announced that Tbilisi will use "all means and all ways" to try to push Russian peacekeepers out of the conflict zone.

The two men are scheduled to parlay at a June 6-7 meeting of CIS leaders in St. Petersburg, Russia. Speaking during a televised session of Georgia’s National Security Council on May 27, Saakashvili stated that Russia could no longer be trusted to act as an impartial peace-broker in Abkhazia. Moscow, he insisted, "pretends to play at peacekeeping" in Abkhazia and such misbehavior "annuls this peacekeeping role."

"It is absolutely clear that Georgia cannot remain in such a situation when we all, together with our international partners, are sitting and waiting for [a new] provocation," he said. Saakashvili did not specify precisely how Tbilisi would try to overhaul Abkhazia’s peacekeeping format. [More]