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Georgia Sets Terms For Monitoring Of Kodori Gorge

A Russian peacekeeper at a checkpoint on the Georgian-Abkhaz border (ITAR-TASS) August 1, 2006 -- Georgia struck a defiant note today in Tbilisi's dispute with Russia over the Kodori Gorge.

Defense Minister Irakli Okruashvili says Georgia will accept Russia's demand for international monitoring of the Kodori Gorge, but only if Russia agrees to an international inspection of its military base in Gudauta in Abkhazia.

Last week, Tbilisi sent troops into Kodori, a mountainous district that straddles Georgia and its breakaway province of Abkhazia, to subdue a rebellion by a local militia leader.

Moscow should have closed its Gudauta base under the terms of the OSCE Istanbul Treaty of 1999, an agreement aimed at controlling conventional weapons in Europe.

Moscow says it only uses Gudauta for its peacekeeping operation in Abkhazia.

Georgia says it is still a fully fledged military base.

(Rustavi 2, Civil Georgia)

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