Source Pravda.Ru

Russia's President Tells UN and OSCE Russia's Side of Georgian Conflict Story - 12 September, 2002 - News

On Thursday, President Putin addressed the UN Secretary General, the permanent members of the UN Security Council, and the leaders of the member countries of the OSCE. According to Russia's President's press service, the document reads as follows:

'I am addressing you in connection with the situation along the border between Russia and Georgia. Because the enclave of international terrorists in Chechnya had become highly aggressive, Russia made the most decisive steps to eliminate this highly dangerous pesthole. We aimed at destroying the terrorist infrastructure created with the support of the criminal regime that had formed in Chechnya, which was the primary obstacle to any political settlement in this region of Russia.

The military part of this operation has been mostly concluded allowing to cut the numbers of the federal military contingent in Chechnya. Simultaneously, we have begun forming governmental structures and law enforcement agencies in the region, including local once consisting of Chechens. The results are easy for all to see. On the whole, life in Chechnya returns to peaceful mode, economy is being restored, schools opened, housing built. The new constitution of the Republic of Chechnya and republican and local elections are being actively prepared.

All these steps are the integral parts of the process of political normalization in the region and Russia' leadership is determined to stay on this way. In this, we are open for the closest possible cooperation with international organisations, first of all the UN, the OSCE, the Council of Europe and various non-governmental entities.

However, the problem is not confined to the territory of Chechnya. The successful progress of the anti-terrorist operation forced the remains of the militants to cross into Georgia and become entrenched there. The authorities of Georgia conniving, the militants feel at ease comfortably doing anything they please and continuing to receive financial and other assistance from outside.

Trying not to allow the militants to spread into Georgia, we as early as in 1999, at the very beginning of the antiterrorist operation, appealed to Georgia trying to establish a close cooperation between the border services of our two countries so that the militants could be reliably stopped at the border.

While emphasizing the inadmissibility of Georgia's government's conniving position, in essence assisting terrorists, despite the absence of any constructive response on the part of that country, we continue appealing to Tbilisi to take comprehensive measures to stop unceasing armed provocations against Russia of non-Georgian terrorist groups originating from Georgian territory and keep offering all the necessary assistance.

The President of Georgia, Eduard Shevarnadze, who recently vehemently denied any presence of terrorists in Georgia, now vas forced by undeniable facts to admit to such presence. However there have been no concrete actions to neutralise these terrorists, disarm, and extradite them to Russia. The widely advertised 'anti-criminal operation' of Georgian law enforcement agencies in the Pankisi Ravine resulted in nothing and the way it was prepared and conducted could not result in anything. The Chechen militants and international terrorists, who were warned of the operation ahead of time, simply went from one place to another.

On September 3 this year, President Shevarnadze was again asked about this all but no constructive response to the letter followed, just as before.

Because of the above, we declare that Tbilisi flagrantly is and remains in violation of the antiterrorist resolution 1373 of the Security Council of the United Nations, which is binding on all states. The situation demands that Georgia be made adhere to her international obligations as concerns non-assistance to terrorists.

In this connection, Russia may be forced to use her integral right afforded her by the resolution 1368 of the UN Security Council adopted in response to the barbaric terrorist attacks on the US in September last year. The unquestionable right in question is that for individual or collective self-defence as granted by the Charter of the United Nations. I would like to emphasise that such actions we have a right to do not include attempts on Georgia's sovereignty or integrity or her political system.

What I mean is that unless Georgia takes concrete measures to destroy the terrorists and if bandits' raids from her territory continue, Russia will make her own adequate steps to stop the terrorist threat in total agreement with the international law.

I count on your understanding of our position and your support of the decisions Russia will make in the interests of antiterrorist struggle, the protection of peaceful civilians, and assuring stability and security in the Caucasian region.'

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