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Russian Foreign Minister: Georgia unable to fight terror alone - 21 September, 2002

The present situation on the Russo-Georgian border either points to "Georgia's being unable to fight terrorists alone, or this is a conscious course to cooperation with them for the sake of the country's political ambitions." A RIA Novosti correspondent quotes Russian Defense Minister Igor Ivanov as saying this to journalists at a Washington press conference after the summit of Russian Foreign and Defense Ministers with their American counterparts.

Mr Ivanov stressed "the anti-terrorist struggle is obligatory for any state in accordance with UN Security Council resolution 1376." According to Mr Ivanov, the Washington talks' agenda included the issue of the Russo-Georgian border situation.

The Russian Foreign Minister said that "specific facts on terrorists having entrenched in the Pankisi Gorge" were reported to the American side. Unfortunately, the minister said, "we have irrefutable data testifying to Georgian officials maintaining contacts with terrorists." He emphasized that Russia "did, does and will keep respecting Georgia's territorial integrity." Moscow "does not intend to infringe upon Georgia's territorial sovereignty." Mr Ivanov also noted that the US rendered aid to Georgia to train Georgian task forces, that's why for the Russian side "it would be important to hear the US Administration's assessment of the situation."