Georgia, Abkhazia trade fresh accusations

Abkhaz Vice President Valerii Arshba told journalists in Sukhum on 27 January that the Abkhaz leadership cannot rule out the possibility that Georgia might co-opt "international terrorists" to launch a new attempt at infiltrating the Kodori Gorge once snows there melt in April or May, Interfax and Caucasus Press reported. He claimed that some 1,000 armed men including members of the Georgian special forces, are encamped in the upper, Georgian-controlled reaches of the gorge. Also on 27 January, Abkhaz Defense Minister Raul Khadjimba discussed the Kodori situation with Major General Kazi Ashfaq Ahmed, who is the UN's chief military observer in Abkhazia, Caucasus Press reported. Ashfaq proposed convening a session of the working group for military issues of the UN-sponsored Coordinating Committee to discuss the Kodori situation. Meanwhile in Tbilisi, Georgian Intelligence Service head Lieutenant General Avtandil Ioseliani said Abkhazia could serve as a base from which international terrorists could infiltrate Russia or Europe, Interfax reported. Ioseliani claimed that the Chechens who hijacked a Turkish ferry in the Black Sea in January 1996 are living legally in Abkhazia. LF


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