Abkhasia Believes Georgia May Attack Any Time

Yesterday, speaking at a press conference in Moscow, Igor Akhba, the Plenipotentiary Representative of the Republic of Abkhasia in Russia, said, 'Georgia is preparing for a military operation in Abkhasia'. Mr. Akhba believes an intervention may begin under the excuse of fighting terrorists. Georgian mass media have been disseminating rumours as to the alleged presence in Abkhasia of Vakhabites and other terrorist groups, which is far from being true. Mr. Akhba said he had information that preparations for a military intervention were at full swing while Georgian spies were active in the republic. Mr. Akhba further said Abkhasia had no intention of relinquishing her independent status or joining Russia even if faced with a direct attack on the part of Georgia. The conflict with Georgia is entirely due to the country's aggressive stance. As to her relations with the Russian Federation, Abkhasia wants to cooperate as go both economy and defence.

The Plenipotentiary Representative suggested Georgia was a hazard not just to Abkhasia but also to Russia because of her difficulties in North Caucasus. Therefore, should Tbilisi attack, Russia should support Abkhasia both financially and militarily. 'Abkhasia, Mr. Akhba continued saying, will always be friendly toward Russia. As to the republic's independence it is entirely up to her people'.

Mr. Akhba reminded about the bi-lateral protocol signed between Georgia and Abkhasia on January 17, 2002, providing for the withdrawal of the Georgian garrison stationed in the Kador Ravine. Since then, Georgia has been using every excuse to delay that. By now Abkhasia has no doubt the garrison will stay put, which adds to the evidence of an attack being prepared.

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