Kremlin: Part of Georgia has turned into international terrorist enclave

Part of Georgian territory has turned into an international terrorist enclave, the Kremlin believes. Chechen terrorist gangs have settled in Georgia, and Arab mercenaries have joined them. This development followed Georgia's refusal to allow Russia's armed forces stationed at military bases in Georgia to move to the Chechen sector of the Russian-Georgian border.

The then Russian President, Boris Yeltsin, made a request to the effect to Georgian leader Eduard Shevardnadze in September 1999. The initiative was forwarded by the then Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin. The Kremlin stated that in 1999 the Russian side proceeded from the assumption that "bandit formations will move to the territories of the neighbouring countries", i.e. Georgia. At first, Eduard Shevardnadze gave a positive reply but then he changed his mind.

The Kremlin explains his doubts by the fear that Kistin Chechens living in the border area of Georgia could engage clashes with Russia's armed forces, given the latter moved to the area at issue. None the less, the Kremlin believes that this scenario could have been less disastrous than what we have today.

The Georgian authorities have finally acknowledged the presence of terrorists on their territory, who infiltrate into Russia. The Kremlin assures that Russia and Georgia should join hands in the fight against terror. If we are open with each other, we will destroy them, if not - they (terrorists) will "run to and fro." The Kremlin stressed that the Russian side "will consolidate the border." This will gradually lead to sealing off the border. As a result, terrorists will be isolated on Georgia's territory and will disintegrate Georgia from inside. The Kremlin is also confident that the Georgian authorities realise this. Nevertheless, Tbilisi allows itself to undertake some contradictory actions, for instance, use terrorists for solving internal problems. This is how Russia views the attempt to lift bandit formations to the Kodori Gorge.

The Kremlin thinks Georgia is ready for cooperation, in particular, the handing over of a terrorist involved in apartment blocks' explosions in Moscow, to Russia is a good illustration here. The Kremlin cannot understand a situation when gunmen detained on the Russia-Georgia border are not handed over to Russia because Georgia needs to find evidence of their involvement in combat activities. "If they have weapons on them and they are wounded, what other evidence can one need? This is nothing else but a farce."

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