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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Abkhazia Peacekeepers

TBILISI, Georgia -- After repeatedly criticizing Russian peacekeepers in breakaway Abkhazia for taking sides, Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze said Monday the government would extend their mandate this month.

"Lately we have had far fewer complaints than before,'' he told a news conference in Tbilisi. "Now we have businesslike cooperation with them.''

Russian peacekeepers have patrolled the mountainous region on the Black Sea coast since 1994, after a twofyear civil war in which ethnic Abkhazian militias won de facto independence. The Russian government has argued the peacekeepers are necessary to defend ethnic Abkhazians' rights.