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    Georgia toughens stance on Russian peacekeepers, Abkhazia disagrees

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    TBILISI, October 11 (RIA Novosti) - The Georgian parliament unanimously adopted a resolution on Russia's peacekeeping operations in the country's conflict zones, but Abkhazia said it was against changing the current peacekeeping mandate, the Novosti-Georgia agency reported Tuesday.

    The adopted document stipulates that Russian peacekeepers in Ossetia and Abkhazia, two breakaway republics of Georgia, enforce agreements made between the conflicting parties and maintain the peacekeeping mandate.

    The resolution states: "If Russia does not do anything practical to achieve real progress in its peacekeeping mission, the Georgian parliament will demand a report on the situation in the Georgian-Ossetian conflict zone from the government by February 10, 2006. If the conclusion is negative, then the parliament will launch a corresponding procedure and demand Russian peacekeepers' withdrawal from the Tskhinvali district."

    The resolution also envisaged that the government would have to file a report before July 1, 2006 on the work of Russian peacekeepers in the Georgian-Abkhazian conflict zone, otherwise, the Georgian parliament would demand an end to peacekeeping operations in Georgia on July 15, denounce the 1994 Sochi ceasefire agreement, and abolish all the relevant agencies.

    Abkhazian President Sergei Bagapsh, however, said the republic would not agree to changing the current mandate and warned against the possible consequences of such "ill-considered political decisions." He said such solutions caused thousands of deaths in 1992-93 when the armed conflict between Georgia and Abkhazia erupted over the republic's independence.

    "We must warn Georgia about the responsibility it will have to bear for the decision to expel Russian peacekeepers from the conflict zone. Abkhazian authorities also caution that Georgia's hopes to turn the peacekeeping operation into an international effort by involving other countries are futile," Bagapsh said.

    He also said that Russia had honored its obligations, and its peacekeepers had provided all the conditions for peace in accordance with the signed agreements.

    Georgian Speaker of Parliament Nino Burdzhanadze said the resolution was not an ultimatum but a fair demand.

    The vote on the resolution was preceded by heated debates between the parliamentary majority and the opposition. The latter agreed with the wording and ultimate goal of the resolution - to intensify peacekeeping efforts - but was skeptical about the timeframe given to peacekeepers to complete their mandate.

    Conservative leader Koba Davitashvili proposed ending the peacekeeping operation before next year, pulling out peacekeepers, and denouncing the agreements, but his proposal was rejected.

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