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1 Aug, 2008 13:40

Abkhazia says no to international police

The President of Abkhazia says he will not tolerate any international police forces on the breakaway republic's territory.

Sergey Bagapsh was responding to suggestions in the U.S. that the force could be brought in to the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict zone.

The U.S. State Department also suggested the two sides should start negotiations by bilaterally promising not to use violence.

But Bagapsh said: “There will be no international police forces in Abkhazia. Russian peacekeepers are already there. They were there during really difficult times, when people needed to sacrifice their lives, and Russian soldiers did it and no one else even made a sound. Secondly, the Russians are doing an excellent job. Also, we all remember what international police forces did in Kosovo and Serbia.”

Bagapsh said the first step should be the withdrawal of Georgian forces from the upper part of the Kodori Gorge of Abkhazia, Interfax news agency reports.

Abkhazia is a de facto independent state not recognised by any country.
A sovereignty dispute has been going on since the early 90s when the republic declared independence from Georgia.