Pankisi too precious for Shevardnadze to give it up
Last night, Georg captured on the Russia-Georgia border on August 4. This was reported by the head of the international legal department in Georgia prosecutor’s office, Paata Mskhiladze, but he gave no additional comments. The 13 armed Chechens are accused of unauthorized crossing the Georgian border, as well as illegal storage and bearing of weapons. The incident was investigated by Georgia’s Ministry for State Security. Russia has been demanding that the criminals be delivered since August, as Russia has evidence of crimes committed by these people on Russian territory.
A Russian law enforcement source informed on Thursday that Georgia has yet to deliver the five Chechen militants to Russia. As of 9:15 a.m. today, the extradition hasn’t started. The source says that this is connected with protests among the Chechen diaspora. The office of the General Prosecutor also doesn’t confirm the extradition.
It is significant that Georgia seldom meets Russia’s wishes concerning the terrorist problem. There have been just a few extraditions of terrorists from Georgia to Russia. This usually happens only when Shevardnadze feels that he might lose his post. That is why, with a view to please the Kremlin, Shevardnadze decided to give up a few terrorists, who are small fries only. We don’t remember an occasion when Georgia extradited important persons. Not to mention Ruslan Gelayev, who is treated as an untouchable person.
As long as Gelayev controls the situation in the Pankisi Gorge, Shevardnadze, his family, and other people close to him feel their freedom. They receive great profits from the drug traffic, weapons trading, and the trafficking of human beings, which they will hardly give up.
If the information about the delivery of the terrorists is confirmed, it means that Shevardnadze’s position is unsteady once again and he resorts to his habitual trick: he carries out an operation that will bring no results. What is more important for the Georgian president in this case is much noise about the operation itself. And when it’s over, Georgia will once again turn its eyes toward Europe and the USA and ask for help; otherwise, they say Russia will bomb Georgia. And Georgia would better like a NATO contingent to be introduced in the country instead of a Russian one.
Dmitry Litvinovich PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Maria Gousseva
Read the original in Russian: http://pravda.ru/main/2002/10/04/47981.html