Withdrawal of peacekeepers from the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict zone "may entail tragic effects" for Tbilisi - such is the comment of Boris Pastukhov on a recent decision of the Georgian parliament on withdrawal from Abkhazia of a peacekeeping force of the Commonwealth of Independent States. He is the chief of the committee for affairs of the Commonwealth and contacts with compatriots at the State Duma (the lower chamber of Russian parliament). Appearing at a RIA Novosti press conference on Monday, Boris Pastukhov said that Tbilisi "is well aware thanks to whom peace has been kept up in the conflict zone during all these years". And reminded that 90 Russian servicemen have already been killed here. In case war sets in, the Georgian side must know that Abkhazia will "wage war with strength and ability", believes the Russian deputy. It is the opinion of the chief of the Duma committee that, in taking a decision to discontinue the mandate of the Russian peacekeepers, the opinion of both the warring sides is to be taken into account, as well as that of Russia, which has sent them there. Asked about the possibility of making Abkhazia part of Russia, Boris Pastukhov stressed that it is a matter of international law, which Russia observes.
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