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Russia's Interior Minister: Georgia Abandons Her Promises to Conduct a Search Operation in Pankisi Jointly with Russia - 12 September, 2002

According to the statement made at a press conference by Boris Gryzlov, Russia's Minister of Interior, Georgia's promises concerning conducting a search operation in Pankisi jointly with Russia remain unfulfilled. Mr Gryzlov further said that despite the talks with Georgia's Ministry of Interior concerning such operation, it so far could not be organised, Georgia stalling again.

While commenting on the situation in the Pankisi Ravine, Mr. Gryzlov said, 'We know that gangs of international terrorists have been for months moving into our country from Georgia. These terrorists have enough time in the Pankisi Ravine not only for recreation but also for preparing new military provocations'.

The minister further said that Georgian government and mass media had been repeatedly informed of this. However, Georgian authorities 'do their best to conceal the information'. Mr. Gryzlov said Georgia's government had to admit to the presence of terrorists in Georgia'. Russia has already tried to reach an agreement as many times as she will.

Mr. Gryzlov said that the statement the President of Russia made yesterday was 'straightforward and unambiguous'. He further said, 'We must no longer allow the existence of this threat to our state on the Georgian border. We must stop any attempts on the part of the terrorists and destroy them'.

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