South Ossetian President Eduard Kokoity (South Ossetia is a break-away Georgian republic) told RIA Novosti via telephone that "Georgia had discredited itself through a deal with international terrorists." He regarded Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze's statements as an evident threat to use force against South Ossetia. According to the statements, a possibility exists that Georgia may conduct an anti-criminal operation in the Tskhinvali Region that will be very similar to the one in the Pankisi Gorge.
Mr. Kokoity said that "Tbilisi was trying to use international terrorists in its own interests." However, he stressed that the situation was under control of the South Ossetian secret and power services and they would not admit international terrorists on South Ossetian territory. "We will take decisions on our own what countries to cooperate with in case the situation aggravates," Eduard Kokoity said.
Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze announced at a Monday press conference in Tbilisi that the Georgian authorities would take decisions to conduct anti-criminal operations in different parts of Georgia.
"If the situation is intense in the Tskhinvali or Gori Regions (not far from South Ossetia) we will combine efforts of Georgian law enforcement and power bodies and use experience received in the Pankisi Gorge," the Georgian President said.