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Russia future military presence decision for S.Ossetia, Abkhazia2008-10-13 16:05
Russia's future military presence in South Ossetia and Abkhazia is an issue that should be decided by Moscow and the two Georgian breakaway republics, Russia's envoy to the European Union said on Monday, reports RIA-Novosti.gt-en-newsitem-inside
Russia declared Wednesday that it had completed its withdrawal from buffer zones near the two breakaway regions. However, France, which holds the EU presidency, said the pullout was incomplete as Russian troops remained in the Akhalgori district.
"Akhalgori is part of South Ossetia, just as the Kodori Gorge is part of Abkhazia, and the presence of Russian troops there is an issue to be decided by Russia and the governments of the two independent states," Vladimir Chizhov said.
Russia recognized the Georgian breakaway regions as independent states on August 26, two weeks after concluding its operation to "force Georgia to peace" that began when Georgian forces attacked breakaway South Ossetia on August 8.
Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said on Monday the EU should announce the resumption of talks on a new partnership agreement with Russia at a meeting of the EU-Russia Council in Nice on November 14, referring to Russia's "constructive" troop withdrawal.
"Russia's behavior was very constructive," Frattini said on arriving in Luxembourg for a meeting of EU foreign ministers.
"I stick to the opinion that we should announce the resumption of talks already at the EU-Russia Council meeting," the Italian diplomat was quoted by Italy's Apcom news agency as saying.
The EU announced September 1 that it had suspended talks on the partnership and cooperation agreement with Russia over Moscow's military operation in Georgia and would not resume the negotiations until the country pulled all its troops in Georgia back to their pre-August 7 positions.