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Georgia: President Accuses CIS Of Incompetence

Tbilisi, 6 May 1997 (RFE/RL) - Georgia's President Eduard Shevardnadze accused today the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) of "helplessness" and "indifference" to the settlement of conflicts on the territories of its member-states.

Shevardnadze told Mikhail Krotov, Secretary General of the CIS Interparliamentary Assembly on a visit to Tbilisi, that most of the decisions, taken by CIS leaders, remained on paper. He said if the situation persisted, one could doubt the future of the community.

Shevardnadze said that Georgia will ask for the withdrawal of Russian peace keepers from breakaway Abkhazia unless Russia takes practical steps toward implementing the decisions of a March CIS summit. The peacekeepers mandate expires July 31.

At the summit in March, the CIS leaders agreed to extend the peace keepers' mandate and to expand their policing area to assist the return to Abkhazia of some 300,000 Georgian refugees. The Abkhaz separatist leadership rejected the decision, saying it was taken without prior consultations with Sukhumi. The refugees fled during 13 months of fighting in 1992-1993.