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Georgian Lawmakers Call For Russian Withdrawal

10 March 2005 -- The Georgian parliament adopted a resolution today that urges the government to set a deadline for Russia to withdraw its two military bases from the country.

The measure passed 159-0. Lawmakers urged Georgia's leadership to demand a Russian withdrawal by 1 January 2006, unless an agreement setting a timetable for the pullout is reached by 15 May.

The statement is a strong recommendation to Georgia's executive branch but does not have the force of law. It also called for Georgia to force the bases at Batumi and Akhalkalaki to shut down if Russia balks at a deal.

Under the measure, Russian military personnel would be refused to have visas and Russian troops, vehicles, and equipment would be banned from moving through Georgia.

Russia has said it would need years to close the bases.