Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze again promises to clear the Pankisi gorge of international terrorists who keep hiding in that part of the Georgian territory. He said a new operation in the Pankisi gorge was due soon. In an interview with the National radio, Shevardnadze said the new actions of the Georgian law enforcement bodies in Pankisi "will in their content and nature differ from the anticriminal and antiterrorist operation conducted in the gorge last year." That operation is known to have changed almost nothing. Chechen militants, as well as international terrorists linked to the terrorist center Al-Qaeda, had in advance withdrawn to hard-to-reach mountainous regions.
Shevardnadze claimed then that "last fall the Georgian law enforcement structures cleared the Pankisi gorge of armed formations that had come from other states." However, these allegations were not confirmed by Russian special services' data.
In Shevardnadze's words, "the main aim of the forthcoming operation is to preserve stability and block attempts to penetrate into Georgia by armed formations from without."