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Georgia calls for the UN to revoke the mandate of Russian peacekeepers in Abkhazia

Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili demanded that the UN remove the mandate for Russian peacekeepers in the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict zone.

This is extremely serious development after the statement he made earlier on Tuesday demanding  the commander of the Russian peacekeeping forces in Abkhazia general Sergey Chaban to leave Georgia. He declared him “persona non grata” and demanded the departure of Sergey Chaban from Abkhazia within a day.

“We demand your military leave the country and stop all the provocations,” said Mikhail Saakashvili.

The incident started Tuesday morning. The Russian peacekeepers said they were patrolling an area near the Black Sea coast looking for dead animals as part of a hygienic mission, when three Georgian policemen approached the peacekeepers’ armoured vehicle and threatened to burn it.

Russian peacekeepers disarmed and detained Georgian policemen but later handed them back to the Georgian side.

President Saakashvili and other Georgian top officials visited the scene whereupon they called for the commander of the Russian peacekeepers forces to leave Abkhazia.

This all relates back to the Georgian parliament’s resolution which requested all Russian peacekeepers leave Georgia.

Meantime, according to Georgian media reports, the Russian peacekeepers surrounded what is known as the Patriot youth camp in the area and arrested three members of the Georgian Interior Ministry special unit, who were there.

The Abkhazian side says that Georgia is merely trying to discredit the Russian peacekeeping force which has been in the conflict zone since the end of the Abkhaz-Georgian war in early 1990s.

There was some violence over those years but no serious hostilities have broken out. Now the Abkhazian authorities has moved more forces to the de-facto border with Georgia just in case of any hostilities. They say this is the response to Georgia mobilizing its troops in the region. Abkhazia is sure this is a provocation of Georgia.

So far the situation remains calm. General Sergey Chaban says that Russian peacekeeping forces are fully performing their duty and that they are totally in their rights to do what they have done earlier on Tuesday. Situation is stable and no further violence is expected, claims he.