Georgia annuls military transit deal with Russia

19th April 2011, Comments 0 comments

Parliament in ex-Soviet Georgia voted on Tuesday to annul an agreement which allowed Moscow to transport military equipment across the country to a base in neighbouring Armenia.

The agreement was signed before war broke out between Georgia and Russia in 2008, and officials in Tbilisi said it was no longer appropriate after what they described as Moscow's "aggression" against their country.

"This agreement contradicts Georgia's national interests," Deputy Foreign Minister Nino Kalandadze told AFP.

The deal allowing land and air transit for Russian military personnel and cargo was agreed in 2006, when Moscow agreed to close two bases it had maintained in Georgia since the fall of the Soviet Union.

After the closures, Russia relocated military equipment to its base in Armenia, where parliament voted last week to allow Moscow to maintain its forces until 2044, ensuring the Kremlin continued influence in the southern Caucasus.

Thousands of Russian troops are also stationed in the disputed Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Osestia, which Moscow has recognised as independent states but Tbilisi regards as occupied territories.

© 2011 AFP

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