MOSCOW CONCERNED OVER GEORGIAN FORCES DEPLOYMENT TO CONFLICT ZONE

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MOSCOW, May 31 (RIA Novosti) - Moscow expresses concern over the deployment of Georgian forces to the zone of the Georgian-Ossetian conflict, reads a statement of the Russian foreign ministry information and press department.

Commenting on reports on the deployment of units of special forces and Georgian interior troops to the zone of the Georgian-Ossetian conflict, the Russian foreign ministry notes that "Tbilisi justifies this action by tasks of blocking the smuggling via South Ossetia to other regions of Georgia that allegedly took place."

"Russia, while being a convinced supporter of reinforcing the fight against trans-border crime, nevertheless believes that military actions taken under these pretexts can only destabilize the situation in the area of the Georgo-Ossetian conflict," says the foreign ministry.

"Such actions arouse concern and do not contribute to development of Russo-Georgian relations," emphasizes the statement. "They devaluate the recent statements of the Georgian leadership on the intention to settle the conflicts with South Ossetia and Abkhazia by peaceful means, through talks."

"For Russia, these issues are of principled importance, as the talk is about security on the country's southern borders. Besides, a lot of Russian citizens live in these regions," says the statement.

"Moscow proceeds from the fact that the session of the Joint Control Commission due in Tbilisi on June 2 will make it possible to rule out the repetition of such incidents and ensure meticulous fulfillment by all parties of undertaken obligations in the future," emphasizes the statement.

Georgian parliamentary speaker Nino Burdzhanadze said that not a single post of Georgian police in the area of the Georgo-Ossetian conflict will be removed. She said this during meetings in Kutaisi (western Georgia) with her voters and representatives of local authorities, reports the Novosti-Georgia news agency.

Earlier the reason for deployment ofan additional contingent of the Georgian interior troops to the area of the Georgian-Ossetian conflict on Monday was explained by Tbilisi by the statement of the commander of the Joint Peacekeeping Forces in the conflict zone, Svyatoslav Nabdzorov, in which he promised to abolish Georgian posts in connection with the fact that anti-smuggling events virtually caused the economic blockade of the unrecognized republic of South Ossetia.

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