Russia warned on Wednesday the Georgian parliament's call for
its peacekeepers to quit the breakaway region of South Ossetia
could stoke tensions there and urged the Georgian government to act
The Georgian parliament passed a resolution earlier demanding
the withdrawal of Russian peacekeepers in South Ossetia and their
replacement by an international contingent. The parliament gave a
negative assessment of the performance of duties by the Russian
peacekeepers but did not set a deadline for their pullout.
The resolution is "a matter of concern to Moscow" as it "follows
the anti-Russian campaign that has been gaining momentum in Georgia
over the past several weeks and demands the removal of existing
mechanisms and the legal framework for the resolution of the
Georgian-Ossetian conflict," the Foreign Ministry said in a
"This decision could escalate tensions in the conflict zone,"
the ministry said, calling on the Georgian government to "treat
this issue with responsibility and restraint."
Russian peacekeepers have been deployed in the region since the
early 1990s, when South Ossetia broke away from Georgia's central
government. President Mikhail Saakashvili has vowed to bring South
Ossetia and another breakaway region, Abkhazia, back under
In October, the Georgian parliament passed a resolution that
criticized Russian peacekeepers in Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
A spokesman of the Russian Defense Ministry said shortly after
the vote that Russian peacekeepers will continue their mission in
the region under their mandate.
"Georgia has the right to raise the question of the prospects of
the peacekeeping operation in South Ossetia. However, it should be
settled with due account for all legal procedures," Vyacheslav
Sedov was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying.
(Xinhua News Agency February 16, 2006)