Georgian President And Russian Security Council Secretary Discuss "Chechen Issue"

A meeting between Georgia's President Eduard Shevardnadze and Russia's Security Council secretary Vladimir Rushailo will deal with the situation in the Pankisi gorge and on the Chechen stretch of the Russian-Georgian border, said Nugzar Sadzhaya, secretary of Georgia's National Security Council. In the course of his two-day visit Rushailo will also meet with Nugzar Sadzhaya, secretary of Georgia's National Security Council, Giya Arsenishvili, state minister of the country, and other officials. According to Sadzhaya, the agreement that Rushailo would visit Tbilisi in order to discuss development of Georgian-Russian relations had been reached several days ago, during a telephone conversation between the presidents of Russia and Georgia. On Wednesday, Russia's Federal Security Service director Nikolai Patrushev, who took part in an international conference on the struggle against international terrorism, said that Georgia has on its territory about 5,000 Chechen militants, including units of field commander Ruslan Gelayev. According to Patrushev, "considerable numbers of militants" are at operational bases of Chechen terrorists located on Georgia's territory. Patrushev emphasised that the operational task of the Federal Security Service is to prevent these militants from taking part in military operations in Chechnya. According to him, this is possible "only through the joint efforts of Russia and Georgia". Georgia "has a desire to fight international terrorism, including Chechen militants," Patrushev said.

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