The special operation carried out by the law-enforcement bodies in Tbilisi last weekend was not directed against the Chechen population, president of Georgia Eduard Shevardnadze stated in the interview he gave National Radio on Monday.
He stressed that the purpose of the operational activities carried out last Saturday was to check observance of the passport and registration regimes.
Speaking of the special operations which are carried out in Georgia, the president emphasized that "there existed information on the plans of certain forces in connection with the aggravation of the situation in Georgia". Shevardnadze also noted that one of the terrorists killed during the special operation in the Lagodekhsky district is charged with having organised explosions in Russia in autumn 1999. According to Shevardnadze, "extremist groups planned large-scale terrorist acts in Tbilisi, too".
The head of state expressed hope that "the Chechen refugees will show understanding for the fact that in conditions of such threats the law-enforcement bodies of Georgia are compelled to take preventive measures and to protect citizens' security".
The president of Georgia called upon the law-enforcement bodies of Georgia to clear up the high-profile crimes committed in the country of late. He specified that he meant primarily the murder of Kakhi Asatiani - a popular footballer in his playing days, and the abductions of people.
Shevardnadze also expressed concern over the "return of the so-called criminal 'authorities' to Georgia".