President Saakashvili said that the Abkhaz side decided to release a journalist and another Georgian citizen because the secessionist authorities “got scared” after the Tbilisi’s warning about police force intervention.
“This was a result of our categorical response. It was not a result of their [the Abkhaz side’s] good will. They did it because they got scared,” Saakashvili said.
Saakashvili's this statement was not in line with the Georgian officials’ previous rhetoric about the issue. Temur Iakobashvili, the Georgian state minister for reintegration, and Nino Burjanadze, the Parliamentary Chairperson, have both underlined that the release of two Georgian journalists was mainly a result of joint efforts undertaken by the Georgian and Abkhaz journalists.
The Abkhaz side released Tbilisi-based Mze TV reporter Malkhaz Basilaia and Davit Tsotsoria on March 6. They were both arrested in the Gali district on February 26 and “charged with illegal crossing the Abkhaz border.” The Abkhaz side said after their release that it was yet another gesture of its good will.