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    Last train carrying Russian garrison property leaves Georgia

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    TBILISI, December 14 (RIA Novosti) - A fourth and final train transporting equipment and ammunition left Russia's garrison in Vaziani, outside the Georgian capital, on Thursday.

    Russian military bases are being withdrawn from the post-Soviet Caucasus state in keeping with Moscow's commitment to remove them by the end of 2008.

    The remaining hardware will be taken out of the base later in December, and moved to the 102nd Russian military base in neighboring Armenia.

    The Vaziani garrison will be pulled out before the end of the year, ahead of the earliest of the withdrawal deadlines for Russian forces in the South Caucasus state, set for 2007. Russia's defense minister decided on an early pullout in mid-October, amid a diplomatic feud between the former Soviet allies.

    The Vaziani base had about a hundred items of equipment and 350 metric tons of ammunition before the first consignment left.

    A third trainload left the town on December 1. The garrison's 387 service personnel will leave once the equipment pullout has been completed.

    Russia and Georgia have been locked in a bitter diplomatic dispute since September, when four Russian army officers were briefly detained in Tbilisi, on suspicion of espionage.

    The move outraged Moscow, which cut transportation and postal links with its neighbor in response, deported hundreds of Georgian migrants and shut down Georgian-run businesses for alleged violations of Russian law.

    Georgia's Western-leaning leadership, which seeks to join NATO, is uneasy about Russia's continued military presence, and has repeatedly urged Moscow to close its Soviet-era bases.

    Under a bilateral agreement signed in March 2006 and ratified by Russia's parliament in October, the pullouts from Russian bases in the southern city of Akhalkalaki and in Batumi, western Georgia, are to be completed by October 1, 2007, and October 1, 2008, respectively.

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