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02 Oct 2003 description

The Russian plane, which arrived in Tbilisi on September 29 to repatriate Chechen refugees willing to return to Chechnya, left Georgia with none of Chechens on the board. Russian authorities' second try to convince refugees living in Georgia's Pankisi gorge since 1999, to return to the war-torn Chechnya failed again.

30 Sep 2003 description

Chechen refugees living in the Pankisi Gorge of Georgia categorically refused to return to Chechnya, claiming there are no security guarantees.

The Russian delegation led by Minister for Chechen Affairs Stanislav Iliasov arrived in the Pankisi Gorge on September 30 to convince Chechen refugees to repatriate on a voluntary basis.

The delegation brought 20 tons of humanitarian aid consisting of warm clothes and food; however the refugees refused to receive the Russian humanitarian aid.

"We do not trust them [Russian authorities]. They need us only to score points on the eve of …

29 Sep 2003 description

(Tbilisi, September 29, 2003, Civil Georgia) - The Russian delegation led by Minister for Chechen Affairs Stanislav Iliasov will arrive in Tbilisi on September 29.

The delegation will bring 20 tons of humanitarian aid to the Chechen refugees living in the Pankisi Gorge and will try to convince them to return to Chechnya on a voluntary basis.

The delegation visited the Pankisi Gorge in early September.

04 Sep 2003 description

Russia is intensifying its efforts to repatriate Chechen refugees back to Chechnya as local presidential elections loom in the war-torn region.

A Russian delegation visited Georgia on September 1-2 to hold talks with Georgian authorities on the return of Chechen refugees living in Pankisi Gorge. According to the latest census held by the Georgian Ministry for Refugees and Accommodation in cooperation with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, up to 3,800 Chechens are in Georgia at the moment.

02 Sep 2003 description

(Tbilisi, September 2, 2003, Civil Georgia) - The representatives of the Russian delegation and the Interior Ministry of Georgia today set up a special commission that will work over the repatriation of Chechen refugees to their homes.

Russian Minister for Chechnya Stanislav Iliasov told reporters in Tbilisi that the commission will also include the representatives of the Russian-backed Chechen administration, who will arrive in the Pankisi Gorge in late September to convince Chechen refugees to return.

01 Sep 2003 description

(Tbilisi, September 1, 2003, Civil Georgia) - Deputy Minister for Emergency Situations of the Russian Federation Yuri Brazhnikov arrived on August 31 in Tbilisi to hold talks with the Georgian authorities over repatriation of the Chechen refugees living in Georgia.

Up to 3,700 Chechen refugees, who fled from the second war in Chechnya in 1999, live in Georgia's Pankisi Gorge at the moment.

The Russian delegation visited Georgia in June.

01 Jul 2003 description

(Tbilisi, July 1, 2003, Civil Georgia) - President Eduard Shevardnadze said at the news briefing on June 30 that he supports continued deployment of the Russian peacekeepers in Abkhazia. He also said the troops would be withdrawn immediately should one of the sides (Georgian or the Abkhaz) demand it.

Georgian Foreign Ministry has already sent to Moscow a draft agreement concerning the issue.

28 Jun 2003 description

(Tbilisi, June 28, 2003, Civil Georgia) - According to the preliminary results of the census of Chechen refugees, over 3,600 Chechens live in Pankisi gorge at the moment, Governor of the Akhmeta District Nukri Alavidze told Civil Georgia.

He said final results of the census would officially be published on July 1.

Registration of Chechen refugees in the Pankisi gorge was launched on June 9 by the Georgian Ministry of Refugees and Accommodation, with the support of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

According to the census held in April 2002 there were up to 4,200 …

12 Jun 2003 description

Despite Russian authorities' vows to provide security guarantees to Chechen returnees, refugees living in Georgia's Pankisi gorge prefer to stay in the gorge, fearing that recent statements of the Russian officials on improved security situation are mere propaganda.

10 Jun 2003 description

(Tbilisi, June 10 2003, Civil Georgia) - The part of Chechen refugees living in Georgia's Pankisi gorge are strongly against repatriation in Chechnya, while another part demands security guarantees in case of return.

Chechen refugees expressed concerns regarding the possible repatriation during the meeting with the delegation of the Russian Ministry for Emergency Situations today in Pankisi gorge.

"Russia is ready to provide living conditions for you in Chechnya.

09 Jun 2003 description

(Tbilisi, June 9 2003, Civil Georgia) - Russian delegation, led by the Deputy Minister for Emergency Situations Yuri Brazhnikov arrived today in Tbilisi to discuss with the Georgian authorities issue of repatriation Chechen refugees living in Georgia's Pankisi gorge.

28 Apr 2003 description

NATO MPs Satisfied with Situation in Pankisi

Georgian authorities are proud to demonstrate Pankisi gorge as an example of a success story of the law enforcement agencies, which could restore rule of law in this tiny gorge, which was no-go area and safe haven for the Chechen fighters and Arab mercenaries in the previous years.

18 Apr 2003 description

(Tbilisi. April 18, 2003. Civil Georgia) - Dozens of Chechen refugees in Duisi village of Pankisi gorge went on hunger strike demanding resettlement to the third country.

25 Mar 2003 description

(Tbilisi. March 25, 2003. Civil Georgia) - Secretary of the Russian Security Council Vladimir Rushailo said on March 24 Russian and Georgian authorities will renew joint activities on return of the Chechen refugees living in Georgia's Pankisi gorge.

"The Russian President has already requested the Emergency Ministry to start working on the issue," Russian media sources report quoting Vladimir Rushailo, which held talks with his Georgian counterpart Tedo Japaridze in Moscow.

14 Mar 2003 description

(Tbilisi. March 14, 2003. Civil Georgia) - Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi said Iran is ready to cooperate with Russia in establishing stability and security in the North Caucasus.

In the interview to the Russian news agency RIA Novosti Kamal Kharrazi said that the issue of ensuring stability in the Caucasus, particularly in Chechnya, Nagorno-Karabakh and Abkhazia was discussed during the talks with the Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov.

02 Mar 2003 description

(Tbilisi, September 2, 2003, Civil Georgia) - Russian Minister for the Chechnya Stanislav Iliasov told the reporters in Tbilisi that Moscow guarantees security for the Chechen refugees willing to return in Chechnya.

Stanislav Iliasov said he hopes the repatriation will start in late September.

"Russian Government is ready to grant compensation payments for housing and unemployment benefits in case of repatriation," Stanislav Iliasov said after the meeting with Georgian President Shevardnadze on September 1.

Russian minister also said that delegation of the Russian …

27 Jan 2003 description

(Tbilisi, January 27, 2003. Civil Georgia) - Commander of the Russian Border Guard Department Konstantin Totski said at the news briefing in Moscow that Russia welcomes OSCE decision to expand its border monitoring mission at the Russian-Georgian border.

"I hope after the increase in number of observers at the border, the reports of the OSCE border monitoring mission would become more trustworthy," Russian media sources quote Totski.