Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 76

As predicted (see Monitor, March 28 & 31, April 1-2), the agreement reached at the March 28 CIS summit to enlarge the mandate of "CIS peacekeeping" troops so as to repatriate Georgian refugees and disarm Abkhaz secessionist forces has turned into a dead letter. In a radio address to the country, Georgian president Eduard Shevardnadze charged that "Moscow is dragging its feet. Neither the diplomats nor the military are acting at the required pace… The prestige of the CIS has been thrown into question. A commonwealth incapable of respecting and implementing its own decisions can not be taken seriously in the future." In a Russian television interview, Shevardnadze directly accused "the Russian leadership" of reneging on commitments assumed at the CIS summit to reverse the "ethnic cleansing" of Georgians from Abkhazia. He also called the Russian military presence there "an actual occupation." And in both addresses he recalled that the Russian high command had armed Abkhaz secessionist forces, committed regular Russian units to the fighting against Georgia, and helped expel the Georgian population. He called on the Russian government to investigate "these crimes" and to "make the truth public in the interest of Russian-Georgian relations." (NTV, Interfax, April 15-16)

Georgian foreign minister Irakly Menagarishvili in turn said on national radio that ratification of the treaty on Russian military bases in Georgia is out of the question until "after Georgia’s territorial integrity has been restored." By the same token, "Russian military basing will be called into question if that condition is not observed." Georgia has handed over to the Russian side a blueprint for enlarging the security zone and expects action by April 28 as agreed at the CIS summit, Menagarishvili asserted. Yet he obliquely allowed for an extension of the deadline. (Itar-Tass, April 15)

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