In a letter to the UN Security Council,
Georgian Foreign Minister Irakli Menagharishvili expressed the Georgian
government's concern over continuing claims in the Russian media that Georgia
is abetting the Chechen resistance, Caucasus Press reported on 17 December.
Menagharishvili said those allegations are directed at drawing Georgia
into the conflict. He again affirmed that as a sovereign country, Georgia
will not allow anyone to use its territory to launch aggression against
a neighboring state. He added that monitoring by OSCE observers of the
Georgian-Chechen border should preclude any further escalation of the situation.
Speaking at a news conference in Tbilisi on 16 December, Georgian presidential spokesman Vakhtang Abashidze said Tbilisi is ready to host a meeting between Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov, Russian Minister for Emergency Situations Sergei Shoigu, and OSCE Chairman In Office Knut Vollebaek, Caucasus Press reported. Abashidze explained Georgia's interest in resolving the Chechen conflict in terms of expediting the repatriation of several thousand Chechen refugees. LF
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