Tbilisi's inconsistent stand on the extradition of Chechen militants has given rise to bewilderment and concern in Moscow. "Once again the Georgian leadership's words contradicted their deeds," said head of Russian Foreign Ministry Igor Ivanov on Wednesday in connection with the Georgian authorities' refusal to extradite the group of militants whom Georgian border guards detained a few days ago when they were crossing over the border from Russia. The Russian side believes that they were the left-overs of the armed unit which a week ago broke through into Chechnya from the Pankisi Gorge of Georgia and most of whom were routed by the Russian military.
On Tuesday Russia's Prosecutor General Vladimir Ustinov held negotiations in Tbilisi on the extradition of the terrorists, but the talks did not bring any result.
The Russian Foreign Minister said that the Georgian authorities refused to extradite the criminals "under a formal pretext." This refusal raises the question again, whether or not "Georgia intends to seriously fight terrorism," said Igor Ivanov. Moscow believes that "this problem will not be solved by loud political statements and semi-measures," and confirms its readiness "to render Georgia all the necessary assistance for putting an end to the seat of terrorism in the Pankisi Gorge," said the Foreign Minister.
The extradition of the terrorists held up by the Georgian authorities "should in deed demonstrate how seriously Tbilisi is in wanting to take such actions with Russia," stressed the Russian Foreign Minister.
The choice of the city of Helsinki is not incidental as the capital of Finland had hosted US-Soviet negotiations on the limitation of nuclear stockpiles in 1969