His relevant letter to Federation Council Speaker Yegor Stroyev says:
“The Russian military contingent has been performing its peace-keeping mission in the Georgia-Abkhazia conflict zone since June 1994. By its resolution No. 369-SF of July 17, 1998, the Federation Council agreed to use it until July 31, 1998.
“From July 1998, Georgia started dragging on solution concerning the extension of the Russian peace-keepers’ mandate. It was done with the purpose of pressurising Russia and imparting a violent image to its peace-keeping operation in Abkhazia. But Russia’s firm refusal to leave its military contingent in the conflict area without any legal basis and intention to withdraw it caused the Georgian authorities to come up in September 1999 with the request to prolong the presence of the Collective Peace-Keeping Forces in the Georgia-Abkhazia conflict zone.
“The Council of the Heads of State of the Commonwealth of Independent States adopted in a routine fashion (by interview) a resolution on further measures promoting settlement in Abkhazia, Georgia, which came in force on December 30, 1999. By doing so, the Council confirmed the validity of the mandate of the Collective Peace-Keeping Forces in the Abkhazia-Georgia hot spot over a period ending with the resolution passing and extended the term of their presence for another six months, until June 30, 2000. The UN Security Council extended the mandate of the UN Observer Mission in Georgia until July 31, 2000.
“The Russian peace-keepers remain the only tangible force ensuring reliable ceasefire in the Georgian-Abkhaz hot spot and creating conditions for political settlement. The situation is such that the withdrawal of the peace-keepers might cause an explosion not only in this area but throughout the entire Caucasian region.
“Given the fact that the presence of the Russian peace-keeping force in the conflict zone meets the interests of Russia, I deem it reasonable to prolong the mandate of the Russian military contingent (with a strength of 3,000 men) in Abkhazia until June 30, 2000.”