Russian Defence Chief Rules Out “Hasty” Withdrawal From Georgia


ITAR-TASS news agency, Moscow,
20 May 04

Yerevan, 20 May: Russian Defence Minister Sergey Ivanov says that
there can be no question of a hasty withdrawal of Russian servicemen
from the military bases in Georgia.

“There can be no hasty withdrawal of Russian military bases from
Georgia. There can be no question of this. In this case, there will
be no repetition of what happened in the early 1990s when Russian
troops withdrew from Germany,” Ivanov said after meeting his Armenian
counterpart, Serzh Sarkisyan.

“For the withdrawal of the Russian military bases from Georgia,
time and large financial resources are needed so that the troops
that are being withdrawn can be relocated on Russian territory,”
Ivanov went on to say.

Ivanov said that recently the process of withdrawal of Russian military
bases from Georgia had “slowed somewhat for objective reasons due
to the change of governments in both Russia and Georgia”. “As soon
as the composition of the delegations has been changed, talks on
withdrawing the bases will be continued,” he said. “The talks will
turn on the time-frame for a withdrawal and, first and foremost,
on the status of the bases which form part of the group of Russian
troops in the Transcaucasus.”