Georgia quits Moscow 1994 ceasefire agreement

Georgia's reintegration minister said on Saturday that Tbilisi was formally pulling out of a 1994 UN-approved agreement signed in Moscow by Abkhazia and Georgia following a bloody conflict.

"The Secretariat of Georgian Reintegration Minister Temur Yakobashvili has declared the Moscow agreement on a ceasefire and separation of forces of May 14, 1994 as void," a statement said on Saturday.

Abkhazia, alongside South Ossetia, another Georgian breakaway republic, declared its independence from Georgia in the early 1990s following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Between 10,000 and 30,000 people were killed in the ensuing Georgian-Abkhazian conflict. A ceasefire was signed in Moscow in 1994.

Georgia's withdrawal from the agreement will also affect the UN observer mission in Georgia (UNOMIG), which monitors the ceasefire together with Russian peacekeeping troops.

Georgian Prime Minister Vladimir Gurgenidze signed an instruction for Georgia on Friday to withdraw from all peacekeeping agreements within the Commonwealth of Independent States and with Russia.

The withdrawal came after Russia's decisions to officially recognize South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states on Tuesday following Georgia's military offensive on South Ossetia August 8.

Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili announced August 12 that the country was pulling out of the Russian-dominated Commonwealth of Independent States, a loose alliance of former Soviet republics. The Georgian parliament approved the decision two days later.

The CIS comprises Russia, Georgia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Azerbaijan, Moldova, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

[Source: Novosti, Tbilisi, 30Aug08]

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