Russian railway troops to quit Abkhazia in August

Georgia protested in June against the deployment of the soldiers.

Russian railway troops to quit Abkhazia in August

Russia will withdraw in early August around 400 soldiers sent to repair railways in Georgia's breakaway region of Abkhazia, Russia's Defence Ministry said on Thursday.

Georgia protested in June against the deployment of the soldiers. Tbilisi said it was a way to send another military contingent to the region, where tensions between Georgia and Russia have been heightened over two breakaway regions.

"On July 29-30 solemn festivities (on ending repair works) will be held. Then the soldiers will head to their permanent bases (in Russia)," Defence Ministry spokesman Alexander Drobyshevsky told Reuters.

"We said at the very beginning that we would be there for two months and would quit after implementing our task. This is one more confirmation that Russia makes good on its promises."

Washington is making a diplomatic drive to bring Russia, Georgia and leaders of the separatist region of Akhazia together for peace talks in Berlin next week, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Matthew Bryza told Reuters.

The West fears that rising tension between Russia and Georgia over the Moscow-backed rebel region could spiral into war, destabilising the whole of the Caucasus, a key route for Caspian oil exports to Europe.

Last week the separatists rejected a five-power plan presented by German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier to ease tension in the region.

Reuters

Last Mod: 25 Temmuz 2008, 08:50
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