Georgian leader, "Putin does not mean to attack Georgia"

"If Georgian leadership is unable to create a security zone at theRussian-Georgian border, keeps ignoring UN Security Council's ResolutionNo. 1373 of September 28, 2001 and fails to put an end to bandit raids onseveral Russian regions, we reserve the right to act in accordance withArticle 51 of the UN Charter, which entitles each UN member nation toindividual and collective defense," Putin stated at a meeting with Russianlaw enforcement chiefs yesterday. A statement made by Russian President Vladimir Putin does not mean thatRussia was planning to attack Georgia and wage a war, said Georgian leaderEduard Shevardnadze at a press conference on Wednesday evening. Accordingto him, Putin's speech "does not give ground for panic." "I do not thinkthat Russia will not run such a venture, which will demonstrate Russia'smoral and psychological defeat to the whole world," he was quoted as sayingby the Black Sea Press news agency. Shevardnadze maintains that the largest part of Putin's statement was notobjective. "The situation was assessed in a biased and one-sided manner inthis statement," the Georgian President stressed, adding that it seemedillogic amid a dialogue conducted by Russia and Georgia. "Two presidentswere talking seriously, and suddenly this unjustified statement appeared,"he said. In Shevardnadze's opinion, the Pankisi problem is almost solved."There are 30 or 40 people there, mainly criminals. And Georgian lawenforcement authorities are taking respective measures," the GeorgianPresident added. He hopes that "everything will be clarified at a personalmeeting with Vladimir Putin.".

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