Tbilisi Loses Control over Kodori Gorge / News / News agency Inforos
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Tbilisi Loses Control over Kodori Gorge

Tbilisi Loses Control over Kodori Gorge
Speaker of Georgian parliament Nino Burjanadze has said that she does not rule out a possibility of a police operation being conducted in the Kodori Gorge. Kodori is the only region of the self-proclaimed Republic of Abkhazia still remaining under Tbilisi's control.

The cause for Burjanadze's statement is the latest pronouncements made by the former presidential representative Emzar Kvitsiani who challenged Tbilisi's authority over Kodori. E, Kvitsiani accused the central authorities of indifference to Kodori population's problems.

"Emzar Kvitsiani is not an official person in the Kodori Gorge and does not represent the opinion of all the population of the region. I am sure the people of the Kodori Gorge will react adequately to his statements defying the central authority. But if the situation fails to return to normal within the next few days, I do not rule out a special police operation being conducted in Kodori, with minimal complications", said N. Burjanadze.

As has been earlier reported, last Sunday E. Kvitsiani announced a revival of the previously disbanded self-defense detachments. He told journalists that defense minister Irakli Okruashvili was planning to take the gorge by assault on July 27. However, according to E. Kvitsiani, he would not let armed people into the gorge and would not obey defense minister Irakli Okruashvili and interior minister Vano Merabishvili. "Such people as Merabishvili who mete out arbitrary rule with impunity have no place in the cabinet", said he former presidential representative.

"The people's militia is created when the authorities are incapable of protecting the people against the enemy. The people organize themselves for protection, and now the authorities themselves have become an enemy of the people. The future of Georgia is at stake now", emphasized E. Kvitsiani.

The former presidential representative announced his readiness to negotiate with a number of Georgian ministers. No response has come from official Tbilisi so far.

"We decided that we should negotiate with the authorities, in particular with Georgian prime minister Zurab Nogaideli, minister of economic development Kaha Bendukidze and deputy chairman of the committee for legal issues Georgi Bokeria, representative of the parliamentary majority", said E. Kvitsiani.

In 1999-2003 Georgian authorities were instrumental in creating the so-called "Hunter" battalion in the Kodori Gorge. The battalion was staffed with local ethnic Svanetians and well-armed. In fact, it was a unit of the Georgian ministry of defense and headed by Emzar Kvitsiani. The function of the battalion was to defend the territory of the Kodori Gorge situated in the immediate proximity of Abkhazia striving for independence.

However, a year ago Tbilisi decided to disband the battalion, and its commander was discharged from the Georgian armed forces. Now E. Kvitsiani is attempting to regain control over the Kodori Gorge and is challenging official Tbilisi's authority
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