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Russian peacekeepers in Georgia (file photo) (AFP)
18 February 2006 -- Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili said today that the Georgian parliament's call for the withdrawal of Russian peacekeepers from breakaway South Ossetia was "flexible."
The parliamentary resolution, he said, gave all sides, including Russia, an opportunity to sit down at the negotiating table and resolve the problem peacefully.
The Georgian legislature demanded last week that Russian peacekeepers be pulled out of South Ossetia to be replaced by an international force. The Russians share peacekeeping duties in the region with Georgian and South Ossetian contingents.
The Russians have been in South Ossetia since the end of the brief, but bitter conflict between Georgia and its breakaway region in 1992. The Russian force has no international mandate.
Georgia accuses it of siding with the South Ossetians.