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Russian Peacekeepers Boost Security In Abkhazia

(RFE/RL) 19 January 2006 -- Russian peacekeepers in Abkhazia have reinforced security measures near the demarcation line that separates the breakaway Black Sea province from Georgia.

Russia's ITAR-TASS news agency on 19 January quoted a spokesman for the peacekeeping contingent as saying that patrols have been reinforced in Abkhazia's southern Gali district.

Abkhazia and Georgia have been accusing each other of undermining security in the area following a recent series of armed incidents that claimed the lives of several residents.

Tbilisi insists that an international police force be deployed in Gali to protect the lives of ethnic Georgians living there. Abkhazia refuses and accuses Georgia of escalating tensions in an effort to force the departure of Russian troops.

Abkhazia won de facto independence from Georgia in a military conflict in the early 1990s. Russian peacekeepers have been deployed there since 1994.

(ITAR-TASS, Prime News, Civil Georgia)

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