Saakashvili urges Russia to overcome deadlock

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Georgia wants Russia to discuss its additional troops withdrawal and annulment of a decree for closer ties with its breakaway republics, the country president's press-service said on Tuesday.
TBILISI, May 27 (RIA Novosti) - Georgia wants Russia to discuss its additional troops withdrawal and annulment of a decree for closer ties with its breakaway republics, the country president's press-service said on Tuesday.

Tbilisi is demanding the withdrawal of additional peacekeepers deployed by Russia in the breakaway republic of Abkhazia and the annulment of former-president Vladimir Putin's decree issued on April 16 on closer ties with Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

The call for consultations comes after a UN report published on Monday, based on video footage and radar records, confirmed Georgia's earlier claims that on April 20 the Russian Air Force shot down a Georgian drone over Abkhazia.

The U.S. deputy representative to the UN said on Tuesday that the report confirmed that Russia had violated Georgian airspace. The report's findings have been dismissed as unreliable by Russia.

Mikheil Saakashvili said the discussions should change the existing peacekeeping format saying that "we together with Russia must find a way out from the deadlock," which he said was created by the Putin's decree.

"I believe that it is also in the new Russian president's interests to calm the situation in Abkhazia," he added.

Relations between Russia and Georgia have been consistently strained since President Mikheil Saakashvili came to power in Georgia four years ago, with both sides being involved in numerous disputes, most recently over Russia's moves to develop closer ties with Georgia's two breakaway regions.

Bilateral relations saw a new low in April when then president Vladimir Putin instructed the government to establish closer ties with Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Georgia accused Russia of trying to annex the provinces, while Russian officials said Tbilisi was planning to invade Abkhazia prompting Russia to deploy additional peacekeepers in the region.

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