Georgia has prepared the ground to officially demand the withdrawal of Russian peacekeeping troops from the Abkhaz conflict zone, President Saakashvili has said, according to Civil Georgia.

He, however, did not specify whether the demand would be made immediately.

“About a month ago we sent a letter to the secretariat of the Commonwealth of Independent States – we have not publicized that – in which we demanded to put into operation a mechanism for bilateral consultations - there has been no response - but one month has already passed and now we can raise this issue [the withdrawal of Russian peacekeeping troops] at any time,” Saakashvili said in an interview with Rustavi 2 TV aired late on June 9.

He also said that Georgia had the right to demand Russian troop withdrawal at any time. Tbilisi’s western partners, he said, were aware of the situation.

“We have informed the European Union; our American partners know about it and the Russians also know about it,” Saakashvili said. “We hope to find a way out of this situation together with Russia and with other partners. But in the end this is our country, our land and our future, so we ourselves should do everything through our diplomatic efforts to avoid a hot conflict and on the other hand to avoid the threat of losing our territorial integrity.”

Civil Georgia