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PRESS CONFERENCE BY GEORGIA

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

21 September 2007

At a Headquarters press conference this afternoon, Irakli Alasania, the Permanent Representative of Georgia to the United Nations, announced an attack by Abkhaz separatist militants on Georgian police units and warned that some forces were provoking military confrontation.

He said Georgia was “strongly committed to the peaceful, comprehensive, political settlement of the conflict” in the region and that his Government was cooperating with relevant international organizations, including the United Nations Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG).

At approximately 11.30 a.m. on 20 September, Georgian Interior Ministry police units came under attack from armed Abkhaz separatist militants in the vicinity of the road connecting the Svaneti region and Upper Abkhazia -– beyond the territory of the Abkhaz Autonomous republic, he reported. Two separatist militants were killed, one was wounded and seven taken into custody. Georgian authorities were ready to invite relevant international organizations to monitor the treatment of the detainees.

Mr. Alasania stressed that the 20 September incident was part of a chain of “alarming events” that were occurring after the “successful anti-criminal police operation in Upper Abkhazia”. The incident, as well as statements by the leadership of the de facto regime to reclaim Upper Abkhazia by military means “lead us to believe that some forces are provoking military confrontation”.

The Georgian Government looked forward to the proper evaluation by the United Nations community of developments and security arrangements in the region and to condemn the provocations, he said. There was an urgent need to implement the preventive measures outlined by the joint fact-finding group after the 11 March combined artillery and air assault by militants on a governmental infrastructure in Upper Abkhazia.

He urged the United Nations and their partners in the Group of Friends of the United Nations Secretary-General to demand compliance with the relevant Security Council resolutions by the Abkhaz separatists, as well as the suspension of their military activities. They should be convinced to enter into meaningful negotiations. He reiterated that “direct dialogue between Abkhaz and Georgians at all levels is the cornerstone of the confidence-building measures and future peaceful settlement of the conflict”.

He told the press that Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty were inviolable and that only in that context could “a result-oriented political process” be advanced to achieve a peaceful resolution of the conflict.

Responding to questions, he said that, from preliminary investigations, the main task of the militant group that launched the attack yesterday was to gather intelligence and prevent and disrupt the construction of a road connecting Upper Abkhazia and the rest of Georgia. Investigations were still ongoing, and additional information would be shared with the media.

He told a questioner that the well-armed militants were from the security forces of the separatist regime. Their commander was not known. The Security Council was awaiting information from various sources before taking up the question of the situation in the region.

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For information media • not an official record



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