Source Pravda.Ru

Russian FM on obstacles to withdrawal of Russian bases from Georgia and Moldova

Russia's Minister of Foreign Affairs Igor Ivanov stated that the unsettled political situation in Moldova and Georgia hampers the talks on withdrawal of the Russian military bases from these countries.

Speaking at a press conference in Brussels on Thursday in the wake of the Russia-NATO Council's meeting, Ivanov said that Russia is ready to continue the talks.

He noted that back in 2001 Russia fulfilled its obligations on the Conventional Forces in Europe treaty. As for the armed forces in Moldova and the military bases in Georgia, the Istanbul accords provide for holding talks, he said.

Ivanov recalled that 1,200 Russian servicemen are staying in Moldova at the moment.

"They are mainly privates whose mission is to guard depots with military hardware and arms. If they leave the territory of Transdniestria (a self-proclaimed republic forming part of Moldova), anyone - both terrorists and extremists - the people whom we jointly fight can get hold of these arms," Ivanov noted.

As the military hardware is withdrawn from Moldova, from the places where it is stored, their mission will be over, Ivanov said.

As to the military bases in Georgia - at Akhalkalaki and Batumi, not more than 3,000 officers and men are serving there now. "The talks on these bases were held and will be continued as soon as Georgia's new political leadership is formed," the Minister stated.

At the same time he noted that today there is no one in Georgia to hold talks with. Besides, the current leadership is too busy with other things to deal with these problems, he said. "We have already held eight talks, and we are ready to continue the talks as soon as the new political leadership of Georgia is formed," the Russian Foreign Minister stated.

"At the same time I have an impression that the new leadership is ready to decide these questions by way of a constructive dialogue. If there is such a dialogue from the Georgian side they will meet the same approach from our side," Ivanov noted.

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