Washington admits extending assistance to Georgia in Pankisi gorge anti-terrorist operation

Georgia hails the US extending its assistance in the anti-terrorist operation in the Pankisi Gorge, Kakha Sikharulidze, the spokesman for Georgia's Foreign Ministry, said at a Friday press conference, commenting on US Deputy Defence Minister Paul Wolfowitz's statement of the US's possible partaking in the fight against terrorists, including on Georgian territory.

The Pankisi operation will be conducted only by Georgian law enforcement authorities, however the country's government greets the US' participation through material and technical aid, sharing experiences and planning concrete operations jointly, Sikharulidze was quoted by a RIA Novosti correspondent as saying.

The Georgian Foreign Ministry can neither confirm, nor deny allegations of a dialogue on the Pankisi situation between Tbilisi, Moscow and Washington, that might take place in the US, Sikharulidze also remarked.

According to him, "if Russia wishes to discuss the problem in a civilized way, Georgia will have no objections." At the same time the spokesman for the Foreign Ministry stressed that Georgia would always find an opportunity and a tribune to declare its stand before the international community.

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