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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

IVANOV SURPRISED AT GEORGIA'S REACTION TO RUSSIA'S POSSIBLE ANTI-TERRORIST STRIKES

RIA Novosti

FLORENCE, March 4 (RIA Novosti) - Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov is surprised at Georgia's permanent attention to Russia's possible attack on terrorists in the Pankisi Gorge.

"The Georgian leadership keeps discussing this issue although we have never mentioned Georgia as our target. It means that an uneasy conscience betrays itself," Mr. Ivanov said commenting on Georgia's intention to invite OSCE observers to the Pankisi Gorge in connection with Russia's possible preventive strikes.

"Russia reserves the right of preventive strikes as part of the fight against international terrorism," the minister emphasized.

"There were many international observers and missions [in the Pankisi Gorge] but they were useless," Mr. Ivanov told journalists.

Russia has often claimed its readiness to attack terrorist bases in any part of the Earth," he stressed.

"UN Secretary General Kofi Annan spoke about it at the security conference. He acknowledged the right of preventive anti-terrorist strikes," Sergei Ivanov noted.

"We have never mentioned the time and targets of these attacks and will never do it," he said.



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