East-West Artery Reopens in Georgia
Babel-Fish | August 24, 2008 at 05:28 pmby
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TBILISI, Georgia -- Traffic gradually began to trickle along Georgia's main east-west highway over the weekend, after the departure of Russian troops who had been barring traffic on the road and, effectively, cutting the country in half.
A reporter traveling by car from the Black Sea port of Poti to Tbilisi saw that the last remaining checkpoints east and west of Gori on the highway, a lifeline for the South Caucasus, had been opened, after barring traffic along the road for almost a fortnight.
The crisis in Georgia continued to simmer over the weekend despite a significant reduction in the number of Russian troops and Moscow's announcement that it had fulfilled its obligations as spelled out in a cease-fire agreement.
Tbilisi and the West sharply criticized a Kremlin announcement that 2,500 soldiers would continue to man two buffer zones outside South Ossetia's and Abkhazia's borders with Georgia proper and demanded a complete withdrawal.
They accused Moscow of unilaterally taking control of a giant swath of western Georgia, far from the conflict zone in South Ossetia, and having prolonged its stranglehold on the country's economy with its continued control of the east-west highway.
Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov told President Dmitry Medvedev on Friday evening that Russian troops had completed their pullback and that Moscow had fulfilled its obligations under the cease-fire agreement brokered by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, a statement on the president's official web site said.
What I found interesting was the amount of food and drink on the mans table. It would seem the markets places are not completly bare.
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