Source Pravda.Ru

Russia-Georgia: Foreign Ministries debate military issues

Moscow was hosting, June 23-24, Russo-Georgian consultations on military issues as Igor Savolsky, Ambassador at Large under Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, met Merab Antadze, Georgian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs. It is quite possible to finish, by July's end, paper work on issues related to Russia's army base in Gudauta, Abkhazia, agreed the conferees. The negotiation round to do it will gather in Tbilisi, reports Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs press and information department.

The negotiators had detailed opinion exchanges on matters to come up in further talks. The agenda included setting deadlines convenient to either Party for the pullout of two remaining Russian army bases in Georgia-Batumi and Akhalkalaki. Meanwhile, the bases must be entitled to normal terms of performance. The pullout demands respective agreements and other legal formalities. That, too, came under discussion.

Prominent on the agenda were reciprocal efforts for a more effective alliance-in particular, building up Georgia's contribution to the international anti-terror cause, in which the host country may use the two Russian bases infrastructure. Many issues of military and military-technological partnership also came under discussion, say Foreign Ministry PR.

As he was summing up the initial negotiation day, Mr. Savolsky pointed out successful coordination of a greater part of a draft bilateral treaty of friendship, goodneighbourly relations, partnership and mutual security. Certain differences persist, however. Though minor, they concern essential security issues, said the diplomat.

As before, work on the draft treaty proceeds from its future-oriented purport. The treaty will be destined to offer a firm and lasting legal basis for long-established Russian-Georgian friendship, extent it to all-round partnership, and upgrade it to a strategic scope. The treaty has for its goal ever closer political, economic and humanitarian contacts, and a thoroughly new level of the bilateral anti-terror alliance.

Treaty drafting started in December 2001. Ad hoc government commissions have held four negotiation rounds since then, and commission chairs and expert teams have met on more than ten occasions, says Igor Savolsky.

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