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Russia 'Alarmed' Over Georgian Vote On South Ossetia

Georgian lawmakers on 15 February debating the Russian peacekeeping mission (AFP) 16 February 2006 -- Russia says it is "alarmed" following a vote by Georgia's parliament demanding that Russian peacekeepers leave Georgia's separatist South Ossetia region.

The Russian Foreign Ministry issued a written statement warning that Georgia could be on a path to destabilizing the region. It said Russia will continue to act in accordance with what it says are its international obligations and responsibility to maintain stability in the region.

The Georgian parliament resolution, passed on 15 February, called for Russian peacekeepers in South Ossetia to be replaced by international forces.

The measure called on the Georgian government to review a 1992 Georgian-Russian agreement that set up the peacekeeping arrangement, but set no deadline for the government to secure the withdrawal.

The resolution described Russia's actions in South Ossetia as an attempt to annex part of Georgian territory.

Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili has vowed to bring South Ossetia and another breakaway republic, Abkhazia, peacefully back under Georgian central government control.

(compiled from agency reports)

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