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    RUSSIAN MILITARY HARDWARE NOT TO BE WITHDRAWN FROM ADZHARIAN BASE

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    TBILISI, March 16, 2004. (RIA Novosti) - Russian military hardware has not been and will not be withdrawn from the territory of the 12th Russian military base and its facilities situated on Adzharian territory in Batumi.

    "There's an instruction of the Russian Defense Minister to observe full neutrality and not interfere with Georgia's internal affairs," Russian ambassador to Georgia Vladimir Chkhikvishvili told a press conference after a meeting with Georgian parliament speaker Nino Burdzhanadze.

    According to the diplomat, all that is underway in Adzharia is Georgia's internal affair. "Russia is Georgia's neighbor, friend, and of course we are concerned about the present situation," he added.

    The ambassador said further complication of the situation might lead to serious consequences.

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