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    Russian military equipment convoy leaves Georgia, first in 2007

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    TBILISI, April 13 (RIA Novosti) - A truck convoy carrying military equipment from a Russian military base in Georgia crossed the border with Armenia early Friday, a RIA Novosti correspondent said.

    Russia's Defense Ministry resumed the withdrawal of its military bases from Georgia on Thursday under the 2006 agreement between the Georgian and Russian governments.

    The military convoy left the Akhalkalaki base in the south of the country heading for Gyumri (Armenia), where the 102nd Russian military base is located, the Georgian Defense Ministry said earlier.

    The Akhalkalaki base is to be completely evacuated before the end of the year, while its base in the Black Sea port of Batumi is to close before the end of 2008. The next convoy from Akhalkalaki is scheduled for April 19, the ministry said.

    Russia completed the withdrawal of its military garrison from the Georgian capital, Tbilisi, handing over control of its headquarters to Georgia's Defense Ministry, last December.

    Thirteen of the garrison's 387 personnel remain in Georgia to oversee the withdrawal of Russia's two Soviet-era bases.

    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.

    Russia has agreed to dispatch five truck convoys and ten trains to withdraw the remaining equipment from the Akhalkalaki base by the yearend.

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