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Georgia: Withdrawal From CIS Security Pact Probable

Yerevan, 19 March 1999 (RFE/RL) -- Georgian Foreign Minister Irakli Menagharishvili said today Georgia will not renew its participation in the CIS security pact unless it undergoes major changes to reflect "existing realities."

The collective security pact was signed in 1992 and is to be renewed this year. Georgia is the third CIS member to have voiced misgivings over the treaty. Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan have signaled they are also considering pulling out of the pact, citing similar motives.

Menagharishvili said the pact is "absolutely ineffective" and must be renegotiated. He did not say what changes should be made.

Menagharishvili also said Tbilisi is not against the continued presence of Russian military bases on its territory but wants Moscow to address Georgian concerns over "many unresolved" aspects.

Menagharishvili -- who is on a one-day official visit to Armenia -- was speaking after talks with his Armenian counterpart, Vartan Oskanian. The two men said they agree that an active political dialogue between Tbilisi and Yerevan -- which maintains close military ties with Russia -- fosters peace and stability in the region.