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Yearbook 1999

Georgia. During the latter part of the year, Georgia was in the shadow of the Russian Federation's war against the breakaway republic of Chechnya. Georgia accused the Russian federation of violating Georgian airspace and bombing Georgian villages. In August, Moscow acknowledged such an attack and apologized. In November, Georgia made new accusations before the UN Security Council. The Russian Federation responded by accusing Georgia of allowing arms smuggling across its border into Chechnya. Moscow demanded Russian soldiers to guard the Georgian border, but Georgia who felt militarily threatened refused.

1999 Georgia

According to Countryaah official website, President Eduard Shevardnadze's Western-friendly foreign policy also came into conflict with the Russian Federation. He supported NATO's bombing of Yugoslavia in the spring and expressed his desire to see Georgia as a member of NATO by 2005. During the year, Georgia joined the Council of Europe.

However, in November, the Georgia and Russian Federations agreed that the Russian Federation should, until 2001, reduce the forces and shut down two of the four military bases that the country has had in Georgia since the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991.

In the October parliamentary elections, Shevardnadze's central party won the Citizens' Union with 42% of the vote. The Georgia Renewal Union, an alliance of small parties formed in protest of economic deterioration, came in second place with 26%. Government and opposition blamed each other for electoral fraud, and OSCE observers reported significant irregularities.

In November, an agreement on new oil and gas pipelines was signed from the Caspian Sea via Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey to the port city of Ceyhan on the Mediterranean. It is hoped that the oil pipeline will be completed in 2004, but economic analysts questioned whether the oil in the Caspian Sea is sufficient for the project to be profitable.

In November, the Abkhazian outbreak region declared the region independent from Georgia, after 98% voted in a referendum. Shevardnadze condemned both the referendum and the presidential elections held in Abkhazia and the breakaway region of South Ossetia.

In October, a group of armed men took seven UN observers hostage in Abkhazia, including the Swede Jörgen Öberg. All were released undamaged after a few days.

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