Tbilisi Threatens to Block Transport Around Russian Military Bases in Georgia

Tbilisi is threatening to organise a transport blockade of Russian military bases in Georgia.

Speaking Thursday evening at a press conference in the Georgian embassy in Moscow, Georgian Transport Minister Merab Adeishvili stated Georgia "has to take" this measure since part of its territory is being annexed.

Adeishvili added that the cutting off of Russian military bases' provision "will be discussed at a high level in Tbilisi in the near future." According to the minister, the possible blockade is caused by the putting into operation of the suburban train route from Sochi to Sukhumi which "violates Georgia's sovereignty." Adeishvili also accused Russia of breaching some bilateral agreements and a number of international agreements.

Railway transport began to operate on the Sochi-Sukhumi-Sochi route late last year.

Russian Deputy Railways Minister Yuri Dyakonov reported Tuesday that the Russian Railways Ministry had no relation to this transport route whatsoever. In his words, transportation was not organised at the state level but by a commercial entity which borrowed the train from the Railways Ministry.

Russian border guards are checking the passports and luggage of passengers right on the train.

One of these days, Georgian ambassador to Russia Zurab Abashidze met Russian first Deputy Foreign Minister Valery Loshchinin and raised in particular the question of commissioning the railway route between Sukhumi and Sochi. In his words, this action was not authorised by the Georgian authorities and therefore runs counter to the adopted CIS decisions on the Georgian-Abkhazian conflict.

Loshchinin confirmed Russia's position favouring Georgia's territorial integrity and the solution to the disputable issues dividing Tbilisi and Sukhumi on the way to restoring trust and to reconciliation.

In this context, Loshchinin pointed to the positive effect of the possible restoration of a through traffic on the Transcaucasian railway line not only in the interests of the Georgian-Abkhazian settlement but of the entire region.

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