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3 Jun, 2008 09:38

Moscow urges Tbilisi to stop ‘hullabaloo’

Russia says its decision to send military engineers to repair the railway in Georgia's breakaway republic of Abkhazia does not contradict any agreements between Moscow and Tbilisi. It’s called on Georgia to stop a “wave of anti-Russian hullabaloo&rd

In a statement issued Tuesday, Russian Foreign Ministry also noted it would be good if Georgian authorities “switched from senseless spells about the threats of annexation and intervention to practical steps to strengthen confidence, which can be achieved through mutually beneficial co-operation”.  

The unit of around 400 military engineers was sent in to repair a stretch of track at the request of the Abkhazian leadership. Authorities of the unrecognised republic say the project is purely economic.

“The purely humanitarian nature of this action was already stressed in the reports of the Russian authorities and in statements, released by the Abkhazian side. They specially stressed that the army builders had no weapons with them,” Russian Foreign Ministry said.

Georgia, however, has condemned the move, calling it a Russian military intervention.

On Monday, Georgia's Foreign Ministry summoned Russia's ambassador in Tbilisi to hand over a protest note over the arrival the Russian Corps of Engineers on May 31.

The railway, like much of Abkhazia's infrastructure, was destroyed during the war with Georgia in the early nineties.

According to Moscow, the task of railway troops is “to replace the worn out sleepers, improve the permanent way, and to repair the railway bridges across the mountain rivers of Kodori and Mokva”.