Georgian foreign minister says bases deal does not need parliamentary approval

Interfax news agency, Moscow
30 May 05

Georgian Foreign Minister Salome Zourabichvili has told a news
conference in Moscow that the Russian base agreements do not need to
be endorsed by the Georgian parliament. She thought that about a third
of the current 2,900-strong personnel at the bases would remain in
Georgia and added that they would be allowed to own the flats where
they live free of charge. She also noted that Georgia did not want
to host any foreign military bases on its territory and did not want
to see Russian troops currently stationed in Georgia to be moved to
elsewhere in the Caucasus. The following is an excerpt from a report
by Russian news agency Interfax

Moscow, 30 May: Agreements on the pullout of Russian military bases
from Georgia do not need the endorsement of the Georgian parliament,
Georgian Foreign Minister Salome Zourabichvili told a news conference
in Moscow on 30 May.

Zourabichvili said that a joint Russian-Georgian statement signed in
Moscow "was a political one and there is no need for its ratification
by the Georgian parliament, but a special technical agreement will
be concluded for Russia which will be then submitted for ratification
by the Russian State Duma".

Zourabichvili said that from the time of the signing of these
agreements the Russian military bases have received the status of
being in pullout mode from Georgia.

[Passage omitted]

Zourabichvili said that according to an assessment by the Georgian
side, nearly one third of the personnel of the Russian military bases
will remain in Georgia. They will receive free of charge the flats,
where they currently live, as private property. She said that a total
of about 2,900 people serve at Russian military bases in Georgia.

Asked whether Georgia is planning to deploy military bases from other
countries on its territory, the minister said that "instructors and
military personnel from other countries, including Russia, will be
present in Georgia at a joint antiterrorist centre, but military
bases are another issue".

"We have repeatedly said that Georgia does not wish to have any
military bases from foreign states on its territory...[ellipsis as
published], you have to trust us that we are not planning to deploy
other military bases," she said.

Zourabichvili said that Georgia did not welcome any reinforcement
of foreign military bases on the territory of the Transcaucasus. "We
cannot allow or ban the pullout of part of these bases [in Georgia]
to Russia's other military bases, for example, those in Armenia. But
we have made every possible effort to ensure that the main part of the
Russian military bases are withdrawn to Russia," Zourabichvili said.

She said that "we have no desire for foreign military bases to be
present in Georgia, and neither do we want the military bases of
other states to be reinforced elsewhere in the Caucasus".