Bush is urging Russia to give Georgia the last chance - 16 September, 2002 - News

Vladimir Putin is thinking over it

The conflict between Russia and Georgia is still the talk of the day for Russian media. The ultimatum of the Russian president was supported by all branches of power. The activity of military departments, the plans, connected with the elimination of guerrillas in the Pankisi Gorge brought a lot of troubles and anxiety to the government of the republic. Georgian officials failed to say anything on the subject. They simply accused Russia of militarism.

To speak the truth, this is an old story to tell, but it was like honey for someone’s soul. On Saturday, American President George Bush called upon Russia to give Georgia more time to handle the problem of gunmen in the Pankisi Gorge. The Georgian army is currently retraining for those purposes, under the governance of American military men.

"I have told Vladimir Putin that they must give the Georgians a chance to achieve a common objective -- an objective that's important for Georgia, an objective that's important for Russia, an objective that's important for the United States -- and that is to get the al Qaeda killers and bring them to justice," Bush said. "And so, I urge him (Putin) to continue to work with us to allow the Georgian troops to do their job," Bush added.

Bush’s statement was the USA’s response to Vladimir Putin’s speech. Vladimir Putin said: “If the Georgian government fails to establish the safety zone in the area of the Georgian-Russian border, if the Georgian government keeps on ignoring the resolution of the UN Security Council of September 28, 2001, then Russia will have a right to act according to Article 51 of the UN Charter. Pursuant to the Charter, each UN country-member has a right for individual or collective defense. Russia is strictly following its international obligations, treating the sovereignty and territorial integrity of other states with respect. However, Russia demands the same attitude in return.”

Does Bush believe that Georgia can cope with terrorists all alone? Of course, not. Yet, America can not acknowledge Russia’s right to independently establish law and order on a neighboring territory. This would imply some sort of a precedent, which is absolutely out of the question.

According to Bush, it is only the United States of America that can conduct anti-terrorist military campaigns in any part of the world (in Afghanistan, in the Philippines, in Iraq and so on).

Does anyone have questions like, “Why are Americans thrusting their hands in Georgia? What do they want there?” Here is the answer. The Pankisi Gorge is of special interest for the USA, for it is believed that this is the place, where armed Islamites are hiding. If it is so, then it is the diocese of the States, taking into consideration the fact that America found a “Georgian trace” in September 11 attacks. It will be very hard to take them out of Georgia now.

Bush also has it his own way. The American president said he had "made it very clear to the Georgian government that we expected them to rout out the al Qaeda-type terrorists in the Pankisi Gorge.” It’s like “we invested pretty good money in you - $64 million to retrain the Georgian army. So, you owe us, guys.”

Reuters photo: Masked Georgian soldiers patrol Pankisi Gorge in Georgia

Dmitry Litvinovich PRAVDA.Ru

Translated by Dmitry Sudakov

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