Russian budget will fix expenditures on withdrawal of military bases from Georgia

MOSCOW, June 16 (RIA Novosti) - The Russian government must take into consideration the expenditures, connected with the withdrawal of two Russian military bases from Georgia in the draft three-year budget, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said at the Thursday session of the government.

"The withdrawal of the bases is the task of the state, and the expenditures, undertaken by the state in this connection, must be taken into consideration in the three-year budget," Ivanov said. "It is obvious that a great work will have to be done. This withdrawal operation will be difficult from the point of view of both its amount and financing. We shall have to purchase, for example, a great amount of fuel to transport the military equipment on ships and trailers."

As a result of the negotiations in Moscow on May 30, the Foreign Ministers of Russia and Georgia signed a joint statement under which Russia must complete the withdrawal of its military bases from Georgia in the course of 2008.

"The withdrawal of Russian military bases from Georgia will be completed in the course of 2008," Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters later, summing up the results of the negotiations.

"The joint statement says that the withdrawal will go on stage by stage: first of all heavy equipment will be withdrawn, then the personnel, after that the Russian military installations will be transferred to Georgia," the minister specified.

Russia and Georgia were conducting negotiations about the time of the withdrawal of the bases since 2001. At first Moscow proposed a 14-year period for their withdrawal, than 11 and 9 years; Tbilisi insisted on 3 - 4 years, then on 2 - 3.

On March 10, 2005 the Georgian parliament passed a resolution that in case agreements will not be reached before May 15, 2005, it was proposed to demand that Russia should withdraw its bases before January 1, 2006. However, at their negotiations in Moscow on May 30 the Foreign Ministers of the Russian Federation and Georgia achieved agreements.

According to the joint statement, signed by Lavrov and Zurabishvili, the withdrawal of Russian military bases from Georgia must be completed in the course of 2008. The main part of the arms from the Russian bases will be transported to the Russian Federation and a certain part to Armenia, to the Russian military base in Gyumri.

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