Georgia Drags Feet On Issuing Visas To Russian Military – Source

GEORGIA DRAGS FEET ON ISSUING VISAS TO RUSSIAN MILITARY – SOURCE

Interfax News Agency
Russia & CIS Military Newswire
August 28, 2006 Monday 1:41 PM MSK

The Georgian Foreign Ministry has dragged out issuing visas for Russian
soldiers for more than a month and has finally issued fewer than 100
visas instead of the required 1,200, a source in the command of the
Russian military force in Transcaucasia told Interfax-Military News
Agency on Monday.

"More than a month ago the command of the Russian military force in
Transcaucasia asked the Georgian authorities to issue almost 1,200
visas to Russian soldiers who are coming to Georgia for a rotation.

However, visas were issued only to 94 soldiers," the source said.

"This cannot satisfy the command of the Russian military force, and
it should not probably satisfy the Georgian authorities, if they do
not plan to drag out the process of Russian military bases withdrawal
from the country’s territory," he noted.

"The position of the Georgian Foreign and Defense Ministries seems
strange, because they demand the swiftest possible withdrawal of
bases, but they create a lot of bureaucratic barriers when resolving
almost any issue, be it issuing visas or the slightest movement of
vehicles, demanding coordination over many days and many stages,"
he said, adding that Russia is fulfilling all its obligations on the
withdrawal of bases.

"Six trains with armaments have left the 12th base in Batumi this
year, and they cargo was added to the inventory of the 102nd Russian
base in Gyumri, Armenia. We will fulfill the plan of armaments and
hardware withdrawal from the 62nd base stationed in Akhalkalaki to
Russia in September," he stressed.

According to the source, "the stress is laid on the withdrawal of
heavy hardware in 2006, while various materiel and equipment will
mostly be relocated in 2007."

Under a Russian-Georgian accord, the Russian military bases are to
leave Georgia in 2008.

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