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Tackling S.Ossetia Under the Banner of Anti-Terrorism
/ 5 Sep.'06 / 20:27
Nino Khutsidze, Civil Georgia

Georgia has labeled an attack on its army helicopter a 'terrorist act' and is now seeking international support to give breakaway South Ossetia’s defense ministry “the status of a terrorist organization.”

“Provocations in this region have grown into terrorist acts and now we should speak about taking adequate measures against these terrorist acts,” MP Givi Targamadze, Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee for Defense and Security, told Civil Georgia on September 5.

Another senior Georgian MP, Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee for Foreign Affairs Kote Gabashvili, told Civil Georgia on September 5 that measures are underway to internationally denounce the breakaway region’s defense ministry as a terrorist group.

Georgia’s top leadership – President Saakashvili, PM Zurab Nogaideli, Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili, Defense Minister Irakli Okruashvili and Foreign Minister Gela Bezhuashvili – met on September 4 with a group of western diplomats accredited in Georgia to discuss the issue.

After the meeting Foreign Minister Bezhuashvili said that the attack on the helicopter “was not just a provocation. It was a terrorist act.”

MP Givi Targamadze says that the Georgian Foreign Ministry “faces a tough task.”

“The Georgian Foreign Ministry has two to three months to secure the international support that will enable us to implement our peace plan. Otherwise, I do not rule out that it will become necessary to use force in order to wipe out these terrorists. I do not think this move should become a source of hesitation; this will be a very adequate step in response to a terrorist act and I assure you that this operation will be very successful,” MP Targamadze told Civil Georgia.

Influential parliamentarian from the ruling National Movement party Giga Bokeria told Civil Georgia that “the Tskhinvali region is a nest of terrorism.”
“I want to emphasize that our goal is the political and peaceful resolution of this conflict; but we are getting ready, we are already ready today and will be more ready tomorrow, for the worst-case scenario,” MP Bokeria told Civil Georgia on September 5.

In addition, the Georgian government is expected within a month to undertake “tangible steps” to secure the withdrawal of the Russian peacekeeping forces from the conflict zones, MP Givi Targamadze said.

The Georgian Parliament passed a resolution on July 18 instructing the government to launch relevant procedures in order to immediately suspend, as the document reads, “the so-called peacekeeping operations” in breakaway Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

MP Targamadze also said that an “increase in the level of foreign threats” has triggered the Georgian authorities to reshape the country’s National Security Concept.

He said that an amendment that is expected to be discussed by Parliament next week will introduce “a principle of total defense,” envisaging the creation of an effective system of reserve troops with a mobilization plan.

“The National Security Concept is a flexible [document] that can change from time to time in according to what is required. The present amendments were conditioned by an obvious increase of foreign threats,” MP Targamadze said.

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