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Tbilisi Says Abkhaz Troops Deployed in Gali, Sokhumi Denies
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 19 Apr.'08 / 22:47

The Abkhaz side has increased its military presence in the Gali district and lower part of Kodori Gorge, Temur Iakobashvili, the Georgian state minister for reintegration, said on April 19.

“A serious increase in concentration of the Abkhaz forces in the Gali district and lower part of Kodori is being observed,” he said at a news conference. “We call on the Abkhaz side to withdraw its armament from there. We also call on the international organizations and first of all the UN to keep a close eye on developments there.”

He also said that the Georgian side “will not yield to provocations and will not engage in military provocations.”

The Georgian television stations reported earlier that over 1,000 Abkhaz servicemen were deployed in the Gali district early on April 19.

The Abkhaz side, however, has strongly denied that it had deployed troops in Gali and lower Kodori.

“We not mobilizing any forces there. This is lie,” Interfax news agency quoted Abkhaz chief of staff of the armed forces, Anatoly Zaitsev.

The Georgian side’s allegations come after Abkhaz leader, Sergey Bagapsh warned on April 17 that he would send additional troops in the Gali district, which is on the Abkhaz side of the administrative border, if Georgia refused to withdraw its additional troops from Zugdidi – on the Georgian side of the administrative border, as well as from upper Kodori Gorge. Georgia has denied sending troops to those areas.

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