Georgia

Burjanadze: Tbilisi has no plans to deploy extra troops in S.Ossetia

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Georgian Parliamentary Chairperson Nino Burjanadze said on June 14 that the Georgian side has no plans to deploy extra troops in the Georgian villages of the South Ossetian conflict zone despite "the tense situation there."

Burjanadze's comments followed after the statement made by MP Guram Vakhtangashvili, who is elected in South Ossetia's Georgian-populated Didi Liakhvi constituency, who said that the Georgian residents of the conflict zone want from the central authorities of Georgia to increase security measures in the Georgian villages, especially after the disappearance of four Georgians in the conflict zone on June 6. He also accused that the South Ossetian side of violating demilitarization agreement and alleged that the Ossetian militias continue reinforcement of military fortifications on the hills overlooking the Georgian villages.

"I understand concern of the local population [of the conflict zone] but I want to call on them to keep calm and not to yield provocations. We have no intention to deploy troops there because we do not want to repeat the situation, which occurred there last summer [August, 2004, when clashes erupted between the Ossetian militias and Georgian troops]," Parliamentary Chairperson Nino Burjanadze said.

"We want to solve this problem peacefully and we have already demonstrated our will by pulling out extra troops from the conflict zone and by proposing peace plan. But, at the same time, our response will be very strict if measures are undertaken against us and their military fortifications will not help them," Nino Burjanadze said.

After this statement of Nino Burjanadze, MP Pikria Chikhradze from the opposition New Rights party pushed the issue to increase number of the Georgian servicemen in the Joint Peacekeeping Forces. The Russian, Georgian and Ossetian sides have right to deploy in the conflict zone maximum 500 soldiers as part of the Joint Peacekeeping Forces.

"We are not talking about sending in South Ossetian extra troops; but what we are demanding is to deploy there the number of peacekeepers which we are authorized to have there. Currently there are only several dozens of Georgian peacekeepers in the conflict zone, while we have right to have 500. We have not heard a reasonable explanation from the government why it happens so," MP Pikria Chikhradze said.

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