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    MOSCOW REJECTS ACCUSATIONS OF NON-FULFILLMENT OF ISTANBUL AGREEMENTS

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    MOSCOW, March 18, 2004. (RIA Novosti) - Accusations of Russia's non-fulfillment of the agreements reached at the Istanbul OSCE summit in 1999 is the pretext for delaying the ratification of the adapted Conventional Forces in Europe treaty, Russian First Deputy Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Trubnikov said in an interview with journalists.

    "We pursue the policy of constructive relations with the United States and NATO. Sometimes our partners aberrate from it and float the idea that without the liquidation of the Russian military bases in Georgia ratification of CFE treaty is impossible (two Russian military bases remain in Georgia: one in Batumi, capital of the Adzharian autonomy, and the other in Akhalkalaki on the border with Armenia)", he said.

    "We see the attempts to put the blame on us for 'the non-fulfilment of the Istanbul agreements' as an invented pretext for procrastinating the ratification of the agreement on the adaptation of the CFE treaty," Vyacheslav Trubnikov stressed.

    Russia has early and in full performed all its obligations for the pullout of arms and military equipment, limited by the treaty, from Georgia and Moldova, the interview says. "We have substantially become close to the solution of problems unrelated to the CFE treaty - the closure of the Russian military bases in Georgia and the withdrawal of military equipment from Transdniestria (the land on the left bank of the Dniester river populated by multiethnic Russian-speaking people. In the early 90s it proclaimed itself the "independent" Transdniestrian Moldovan republic with the capital in Tiraspol)," Trubnikov said.

    "There are no legal obstacles for the start of ratification of the agreement on the CFE treaty adaptation. We invite our partners to begin it without artificial procrastination," he said.

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