Russia, Georgia Interior Ministers Pleased with Teamwork in Pankisi

Boris Gryzlov and Koba Narchemashvili, respective interior ministers of Russia and Georgia, have noted progress in their countries' joint effort to resolve the problem of the Pankisi Gorge, the area adjacent to Chechnya and harbouring Chechen militants. The ministers met in Tbilisi on Wednesday.

The joint measures the sides agreed on last year have been taken and yielded results, the Russian minister told reporters. The two countries' interior ministries have many times held operations in the Gorge aiming to trace the criminals, he said.

"The problem has not been completely resolved as of yet," admitted Mr Gryzlov. "Criminals are still hiding among Pankisi residents, however, we detect and arrest them." His Georgian counterpart reported on 50 men on the wanted list who have been detained in the Gorge as of today.

Pankisi still harbours a few odious figures both Russia and the United States are looking for, said Mr Narchemashvili. He, however, was not certain whether they can be qualified as terrorists.

Yet, the Georgian and Russian law-enforcements have developed mutual co-operativeness in recent months and are set to keep it up, assured the Georgian minister.

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