EU warns Russia agaist military build-up in Georgian

February 6th, 2009 - 4:14 am ICT by IANS  

Brussels, Feb 6 (DPA) The European Union (EU) warned Russia Thursday not to go ahead with its plans to build up a military presence in Georgia’s breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, saying they would jeopardise stability and security.”The EU would consider the implementation of such plans to be a serious violation of the principle of Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, to which the EU is strongly committed,” the Czech presidency of the EU said in a statement issued on behalf of the bloc’s 27 member states.

“Any military build-up in Abkhazia and South Ossetia would be in contradiction with the spirit of the August and September 2008 ceasefire agreements and jeopardise stability and security in the region by further increasing tensions,” the statement said.

Russia tightened its grip on the two separatist regions during the August war with Georgia, which sparked condemnation from both the EU and NATO.

While Moscow views the regions as independent states, the EU says they should remain part of Georgia.

Under the terms of an EU-brokered ceasefire, Russia can keep some troops in the two regions, with EU observers deployed to Georgia proper.

According to Russian reports, Moscow now wants to set up naval and land bases and re-build the Soviet-era Bombory air base in what it calls the “Republic of Abkhazia”.

On Wednesday, NATO spokesman James Appathurai also expressed concern at Russian plans to build a naval base in the Black Sea port of Ochamchira.

The issue was expected to be raised by NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer with Russian deputy premier Sergey Ivanov at a security conference taking place in Munich at the end of the week.

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