Georgian head of state Eduard Shevardnadze said yesterday that the next Georgian parliament probably won’t ratify the treaty granting Russia basing rights in Georgia unless Georgia regains jurisdiction over Abkhazia. In addition, Shevardnadze predicted that the parliament would refuse to renew the mandate of Russian "peacekeeping" troops in the conflict zone, unless those troops take effective steps to ensure the safe return to Abkhazia of Georgian refugees. (12)
On September 15 Shevardnadze and Russian prime minister Viktor Chernomyrdin signed a treaty granting Russia military basing rights in Georgia. On November 5 Georgia will probably elect a new parliament dominated by Shevardnadze’s Civic Union. In yesterday’s statement, Shevardnadze explicitly said for the first time that the concession to Russia was linked to Russian support for regaining Abkhazia. Ethnic Georgians formed a plurality of Abkhazia’s population until nearly 300,000 of them were ethnically cleansed by the Abkhaz with decisive Russian military support in 1992-93.
Georgia Presses, Moscow Equivocates On Georgadze Case.