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Department of Public Information . News and Media Division . New York

13 March 2007

Military helicopters had entered Georgian airspace from the north and subjected villages in Upper Abkhazia to heavy shelling shortly after 10 p.m. on Sunday, 11 March, Irakli Alasania, Permanent Representative of Georgia, said at a Headquarters press conference this morning.

Citing preliminary information obtained by Georgian officials, he said there had also been reports of artillery fire in the same area. While there had been no casualties, the office of the Government of the Autonomous Republic of Abkhazia had been damaged, as had “several constructions” in the village of Chkhalta and local infrastructure in the villages of Azhara, Kvabchara and Ptishi.

He said Georgia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs had requested an “immediate explanation” of the shelling from Russian authorities, while also informing the United Nations Secretary-General about what he said were seen as attempts to hinder the region’s stabilization process. “It is obvious that certain forces will use such provocations to escalate tension in the region, thus threatening stability.”

Noting that a dialogue between the parties to the conflict in Abkhazia, Georgia, had been held in Geneva last month, he said a joint United Nations-Georgian-Abkhaz fact-finding team was currently conducting investigations and Georgia would make its findings known to the international community once they were complete.

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For information media • not an official record

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