Georgian Minister of Transport Mirab Adeishvili said at a press conference in Moscow today that transport and communication maintenance of the Russian military bases in Abkhazia may be stopped. He emphasized it would be one of the adequate measures the Georgian side was going to take in response to recommencement of railway communication between Russia and Abkhazia on the route Sochi – Sukhumi – Sochi. The minister said, he met with the First Deputy Railway Minister of Russia, Vadim Morozov to discuss the problem. However, as Mirab Adeishvili mentions, the Russian side refused to sign a joint protocol that included the regulations on violation of the intergovernmental and inter-state agreements from the Russian side. Railway communication on the route Sochi – Sukhumi – Sochi was recommenced on December 25, 2002.
Abkhazia refugees organized protest actions against recommencement of the railway communication between Russia and Abkhazia and against granting of the Russian citizenship to Abkhazians. The people blocked the bridge over the Inguri River. They demanded that the mandate of Russian peacemakers in the conflict zone must be stopped.
The Georgian leadership issued an ultimatum for Russia: the document on extension of the Russian peacemakers’ mandate won’t be signed until the railway communication between the cities of Sochi and Sukhumi isn’t stopped.
Moscow’s response to the ultimatum was strict enough: “the CIS peacemaking troops are in the zone of the Georgia-Abkhazia conflict in accordance with the decision taken by the Council of the CIS presidents; it was the Council that determined the mandate. That is why the peacemaking troops will keep on maintaining peace between the conflicting sides in accordance with the mandate, until the Council of the CIS presidents issues a different decision,” a spokesman for the Russian Ministry of Defense said.
The unhappy bluff of the Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze didn’t chill his zeal. He once again employed the old but still effective formula about “the great-power chauvinism”. Eduard Shevardnadze thinks that “recommencement of the railway communication between Abkhazia and Russia and mass granting of the Russian citizenship to Abkhazians are steps toward annexation of Georgia.”
The problem of recommencement of the railway communication will be considered at a session of the UN Security Council on January 31, 2003. Secretary of Georgia’s Security Council, Tedo Dzhaparidze says that Georgia will insist that an extraordinary session of the UN Security Council must be dedicated to these problems.
Some time ago, the branch line Sukhumi – Sochi was part of the Caucasian railway and was used for munition transportation. As of now, passenger traffic is suspended on the route Sochi – Sukhumi as it may be dangerous.
Dmitry Chirkin PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Maria Gousseva
Read the original in Russian: http://world.pravda.ru/world/2003/5/73/208/5665_Abhazia.html
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