The decision of the Council of CIS heads of state on extending the mandate of the collective peace-keeping force of the Commonwealth of Independent States in the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict zone, which expired on June 30th, 2002, will be signed by the heads of state as a matter of routine. (Abkhazia is a self-proclaimed republic on Georgian territory.) RIA Novosti learned from the headquarters of the CIS Executive Committee in Minsk on Wednesday that all the documents necessary to extend the mandate have already been forwarded for signing to the presidents of the CIS member-countries, and the Executive Committee is currently expecting their arrival to formalize the relevant decision. The collective peace-keeping force was introduced into Georgia on June 24th, 1994 by the decision of the Council of the CIS heads of state in keeping with the agreement on the ceasefire and the disengagement of the sides of May 14th, 1994.
The peacekeeping force actually consists of a 1,500-man strong Russian military contingent.