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RFE/RL March 28 2002
DUMA ECHOES RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY CLAIMS THAT GEORGIA IS PREPARING TO ATTACK ABKHAZIA... The Russian State Duma adopted a statement on 22 March in response to repeated Georgian allegations that Islamic militants have found refuge in Abkhazia, Russian and Georgian news agencies reported. The Russian Foreign Ministry condemned the Georgian allegations in a strongly worded statement the previous day (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 22 March 2002). The Duma statement accused Georgia of seeking to prepare public opinion for a military intervention in Abkhazia. It advocated talks on the situation in Abkhazia between Duma and Georgian parliament deputies. It also called on the Russian government to provide economic and humanitarian aid to both Abkhazia and the unrecognized Republic of South Ossetia. LF

...AS GEORGIAN OFFICIALS DENY ANY SUCH INTENTION... Georgian Foreign Ministry spokesman Kakha Sikharulidze on 22 March affirmed that Georgia "will not carry out a special antiterrorist military operation in Abkhazia and South Ossetia," Caucasus Press reported. He added that "there is no alternative to a peaceful political settlement of the conflict. Georgia does not want to be blamed for regaining Abkhaz by force." On 25 March, President Eduard Shevardnadze similarly said in the course of his traditional Monday radio broadcast that "Georgia is not preparing for a war in Abkhazia." Interfax on 23 March quoted Georgian Defense Minister Davit Tevzadze as telling journalists in Tbilisi that talks on resolving the Abkhaz conflict peacefully should be continued, as such negotiations "are cheaper" than a new war. LF

...AND ABKHAZ LEADERSHIP UNCONVINCED. The Abkhaz Foreign Ministry issued a statement on 23 March interpreting the resolution adopted by the Georgian parliament on 21 March, which described Abkhazia as a refuge for international terrorists, as evidence that Georgia seeks to prepare the public for the beginning of an armed campaign against Abkhazia under the pretext of an antiterrorist struggle, Caucasus Press reported. The Abkhaz statement charged that it is in fact Tbilisi that sponsors state-level terrorism. It noted that the 21 March Russian Foreign Ministry statement condemned the Georgian authorities for transporting "international terrorist groups" from the Pankisi Gorge to the Kodori Gorge where they launched "a large-scale attack" on the local population, and for their alleged support for Georgian guerrilla detachments operating in the Abkhaz conflict zone. The Abkhaz statement appealed to Russia and the UN to take urgent measures to prevent destabilization. LF

Abkhaz PM warns of "wider" conflict in Georgia's breakaway region
 2002   MOSCOW, March 21 (AFP

The leader of the breakaway Georgian region of Abkhazia warned Thurdsay that any new conflict over his enclave would be "wider" than a deadly 1992-1993 war and could draw in both Russia and the United States. Anri Dzhergeniya said Georgia's stance on Abkhazia had beome "tougher" since Washington announced last month that it was sending up to 200 troops to Tbilisi to train the security forces hunting down alleged terrorists in the region, Russian media reported. 

The stated object of the US military aid is to track down al-Qaeda fighters believed to be hiding out in the remote Pankisi gorge, which borders Chechnya, but the Abkhaz authorities fear Tbilisi could also target the breakaway region. 

Dzhergeniya said Russia, which backed Abkhazia in the 1992-93 conflict, also had interests in the region. 

Several thousand people were killed in fighting that broke out in August 1992 following Abkhazia's declaration of independence from Georgia. 

The conflict continued until September 1993, by which time some 250,000 Georgians had fled the separatist region. 

RFE/RL Liz Fuller March 22 2002

Following two days of inconclusive debate on 14-15 March, deputies voted unanimously on 20 March in favor of a toughly worded 13-point resolution on Abkhazia, Caucasus Press and ITAR-TASS reported. The preamble accused the Russian peacekeeping force deployed in the Abkhaz conflict zone under the CIS aegis of failing to fulfill its mandate, and of functioning instead as "frontier guards" between Abkhazia and the rest of Georgia; claimed Abkhazia has become "a haven for international terrorists" and a base for drugs and arms trafficking; and accused the Abkhaz leadership of refusing to cooperate with the UN and OSCE.

The resolution repeats the parliament's demand of 11 October 2001 that the Russian peacekeepers be withdrawn; that those persons guilty of the "genocide" of the Georgian population of Abkhazia be brought to justice; that the international community inspect the Russian military base at Gudauta to determine whether Russia has complied with its commitments to withdraw weaponry from there; and condemns Russia's waiving for residents of Abkhazia and South Ossetia of the visa requirement that obtains for all other Georgian citizens. At the same time, it calls on the parliament's Provisional Committee to draft a resolution by 30 June on how to resolve the Abkhaz conflict; calls on the Georgian president and government to assess compliance with previously signed decrees and agreements on Abkhazia; and affirms that "Georgia will not resort to military force as long as the possibility of a peaceful solution of the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict exists." LF

Also on 20 March 2002 , the Georgian parliament approved a statement in response to, and condemning, that adopted on 6 March by the Russian State Duma, Caucasus Press reported. The Duma resolution condemned the Georgian government's alleged failure to prevent international terrorists from infiltrating the Pankisi Gorge and its rejection of Russian offers of assistance in countering that threat while accepting U.S. military aid. It expressed support for Georgia's territorial integrity, but reserved the right, "if relations [with Georgia] develop unfavorably," to consider the formal requests by the leaders of the unrecognized republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia for "associate membership" of the Russian Federation (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 6 and 7 March 2002). The Georgian response branded the Duma statement as interference into Georgia's internal affairs, and accused Russia of supporting separatism in Abkhazia and South Ossetia and of failing to acknowledge Georgia's territorial integrity. LF

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said in Moscow on 20 March after talks with President Vladimir Putin that any repeat of the 18 March abduction of four Russian peacekeepers in the Abkhaz conflict zone "must be stopped at the very outset," ITAR-TASS reported. Ivanov rejected Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze's claim that the Russian peacekeepers had earlier "abducted" two Georgian guerrillas apprehended during an attack on a peacekeeping post, and whom the Russians handed over to the Abkhaz authorities. Speaking in Tbilisi on 20 March, Georgian parliament speaker Nino Burdjanadze similarly characterized the Russian decision to hand the guerrillas over to the Abkhaz as "illegal," Caucasus Press reported. Interfax on 20 March quoted Georgian National Security Council Deputy Secretary Djemal Gakhokidze as claiming that a UN convention acknowledges the right of persons who have been driven from their homes to join a guerrilla movement. LF

News From Abkhazia
5 October.   ApsnyPress

Units of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Abkhazia regained control over the village of Georgievskoe of the Gulrypsh region, pushing the units of Georgian and Chechen militants into the deep of the Kodor Gorge. The discovered bodies of four local civilians killed by the militants during their retreat were brought to Sukhum. One officer of the Abkhaz army was killed during the operation, one soldier is missing. Three militants were captured, among them two Georgians and one Chechen.

5 October
The armed formation which penetrated the Kodor Gorge of Abkhazia from Georgia has more than 400 fighters, among whom Georgians, Chechens, Arabs and other foreigners, as was told during interrogation by one of the captured Georgians. He said that the Chechens were asking about the ways to the city of Sochi and the whereabouts of a Russian military base. The captured Chechen during the interrogation was repeating one phrase: "Allah il Allah". He admitted that the operation was planned in the Pankissi Gorge in Georgia by instructors from Saudi Arabia. His anmed Ruslan Gelayev as his field commander.

The Abkhaz military officials think that this incursion of Georgian and Chechen militants into Abkhazia was designed as a maneuver step to cover the penetration to Abkhazia of the units of the Georgian secret services. The observers note the concentration of Georgian military formations in the adjacent to Abkhazia Zugdidi region of Georgia, as well as in the Kodor Gorge.

5 October
On the briefing for the journalists the head of the State Security Service of Abkhazia Raul Khadzhimba said that terrorism became an integral part of the policy of Georgia towards Abkhazia. In his words, the terrorist activity supported by Georgian authorities has wider aims than merely the Republic of Abkhazia. In his view, this is connected with destabilization of the situation both in Abkhazia and the North Caucasus.
The Pankissi Gorge of Georgia is turned to a permanent base of terrorists, where the Arab instructors prepare militant fighters, which is known to Georgian secret services and authorities. It is the Georgian secret services that direct the terrorist formations sent to Abkhazia. In Khadzimba's words, "religious extremism and Georgian state-sponsored terrorism came together, which is witnessed by the recent events in the Gulrypsh region of Abkhazia".

6 October ApsnyPress
On the night of 6 October there was a collision between the servicemen of the Abkhaz armed forces and the militants in the Kodor Gorge.

The Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General in Georgia Dieter Boden in his interview to the Abkhazian TV appealed to Georgian power ministries to fulfill agreements reached during the meeting of the Prime Minister of Abkhazia and the President of Georgia.

8 October From the Statement of the Russian Foreign Ministry, 8 October 2001, Moscow
October the United Nations Observer Mission (UNOMIG) helicopter was shot down in the Kodor Gorge in Abkhazia. 9 people, including 6 members of the Mission and 3 crew members were killed. The Russian Foreign Minister I.S. Ivanov sent condolences to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan in connection with this incident. The United Nations Security Council will have to express its principled position in the light of the increasing threat of terrorism on the territory of Georgia in the zone of Georgian-Abkhaz conflict. Moscow hopes that Tbilisi will finally take necessary measures to liquidate the terrorist groups who penetrated the Kodor Gorge.

8 October, ApsnyPress
As a result of the fight on 6 October in the Kodor Gorge the servicemen of the Armed Forces of Abkhazia, Givi Shinkuba was killed, while the fate of the deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Abkhazia Denvar Aslandzia is unknown.

On the morning of 8 October the helicopter of the UN military observer mission was shot down in the Kodor Gorge. All 9 passengers on board of the helicopters were killed. The eyewitnesses - the soldiers of the Abkhaz army who were at their post at the time of the incident, allege that the helicopter was downed from the missile launched from the site of the concentration of Georgian and Chechen militants in the Kodor Gorge. The passengers on board were 6 members of the UN observer mission (citizens of France, Germany, Hungary, among them), an interpreter and 3 Ukrainian crew members.

The Statement issued by the Foreign Ministry of the Transdnestrian Moldavian Republic expressed concern of the news of aggression against Abkhazia from the side of the Georgian and Chechen units which led to human casualties. The Foreign Ministry appealed top the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Karabakh Republic and South Ossetian Republic with a proposal to immediately take adequate measures aimed at the repulsion of the aggression.

Representatives of the Karachay-Cherkess Republic expressed their concern with the fact of the participation of representatives of the North Caucasus among the terrorists. The Abkhaz Foreign Minister Sergei Shamba met the representatives of Karachay Cherkessia, in particular Kambiz Evgamukov and Musa Daurov, who arrived to Abkhazia in connection with the situation in the Kodor Gorge. The representatives of Karachay-Cherkessia stressed that they could not look indifferently at the fate of Abkhazia and expressed their readiness in any moment to provide assistance to Abkhazia and take adequate measures.

9 October
Received via phone from the Chancellery of the President of Abkhazia. During the last night the terrorists made an assault on the village of Naa in the Gulrypsh region of Abkhazia. 5 Abkhaz servicemen and 9 local civilians were killed. The Abkhaz Vice-President Arshba was speaking about the declaration of wholesale mobilization in Abkhazia.