Georgia Says Russia Delaying Withdrawal

Monday, 18 Aug 2008 08:25 PM

By Stewart Stogel

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UNITED NATIONS - Despite official pledges that Russian military forces would begin a withdrawal from Georgian territory on Monday, it has not happened.

Georgian Foreign Ministry sources tell Newsmax that not only have the Russians not begun a withdrawal, they have actually re-entered the Georgian army base at Senaki, about 30 miles north of the capital Tblisi.

According to Georgian sources, the Russians are "destroying" the captured base and all access roads and bridges in the vicinity.

If accurate, the action would be the second time Moscow has delayed a withdrawal it had formally committed to.

The apparent Russian move seems aimed at "ensuring" that their forces, which will remain in the region under a United Nations-endorsed "peacekeeping" operation, are not "harassed" in the future by the Georgians.

Meanwhile at the U.N., the Security Council continues to struggle behind closed doors to finalize a tentative agreement between Moscow and the European Union that would allow European soldiers to replace the bulk of Russian forces that invaded the former Soviet republic on Aug. 8.

U.N. diplomats tell Newsmax that they expect the Security Council to formally approve the agreement later this week.

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