The uncertainty in the position of the peacekeepers from the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) remains in the zone of the Abkhazian conflict (Abkhazia is a self-proclaimed republic in the territory of Georgia). Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze believes that their withdrawal is contra-indicated but, on the other hand, he does not prolong the mandate of the peacekeepers. At a briefing on Monday, Eduard Shevardnadze said that he had "not yet signed a decree on prolonging the mandate of the CIS peacekeeping forces in the zone of the Georgian-Abkhazian conflict." But he did not say whether he intended to sign this document. What he said was that "consultations on this score continue." After the Georgian parliament adopted a resolution on the withdrawal of Russian peacekeepers, much has changed, he added. And at the given stage the withdrawal of the peacekeepers is contra-indicated." According to Shevardnadze, at the present time the possibility of expanding the format of the peacekeeping operation is being considered.
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