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Georgians protest Russian presence in Poti

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Georgians protest Russian presence in Poti


Hundreds of Georgians have protested against the Russian presence in the Black Sea port of Poti. Particularly worrisome for Tbilisi and the West is a checkpoint set up at the port which lies outside the security zone Russia claims is covered by its peacekeeping mandate.

Washington insists that putting up permanent facilities and checkpoints is inconsistent with the ceasefire agreement. Poti is not Georgia’s busiest port for oil but it can load up to one 100.000 barrels per day of oil products which arrive by rail from Azerbaijan.

A US Navy warship has sailed through the Bosphorus taking relief supplies to Georgia.
Officials in Washington say the destroyer McFaul will be followed by two other US ships.

France currently holds the presidency of the EU and has helped broker a ceasefire in the confrontation.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy discussed the situation in Georgia with his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev on Saturday and called for a withdrawal of Russian troops from the Poti and Senaki area as soon as possible.

Georgian soldiers have been inspecting their military base at Senaki strewn with damaged military equipment and rubbish. The Georgian National Guard claims the base was looted by withdrawing Russian troops.

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