|Blast site outside police department in Gori.
President Mikheil Saakashvili blamed Georgia’s “enemies” and “forces which are against peace” for a Tuesday car bomb explosion outside the police department in the town of Gori, which killed three policemen and injured 27 other people.
Saakashvili made an evening televised addressed to the nation on February 1 after convening an emergency session of the National Security Council, which assessed the situation after the blast.
The President did not specify which specific “anti-peace forces” were behind the terrorist act but did hint that the blast came just a few days after the Georgian government “initiated peace proposals,” referring to the peace plan over South Ossetian conflict settlement, which he unveiled on January 26 at the Parliamentary Assembly of Council of Europe. However, during his speech Saakashvili did not once mentioned South Ossetia.
Sensing that Tbilisi’s suspicion could fall on Tskhinvali, authorities in breakaway South Ossetia were prompted to condemn terrorist acts shortly after the deadly blast in Gori, which is located less than 30 km away from the unrecognized republic’s capital Tskhinvali.
“Any attempts to use terrorist acts to escalate the confrontation between Georgians and Ossetians will only increase tension in the region. South Ossetia condemns terrorism as a mean for achieving political purposes,” Oleg Alborov, the Secretary of the National Security Council of breakaway South Ossetia said.
Georgian Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili said a large amount of plastic explosive mixed with TNT, which was then detonated in a car outside the police department in Gori, was triggered by remote control. Officials also say that they have already pinpointed a “certain circle of suspects” who could have carried out the terrorist act.
|Plastic explosive mixed with TNT, detonated
in the car, was triggered by remote control.
In his address Mikheil Saakashvili told the citizens of Georgia that Georgia’s “enemies spare no efforts” in their attempts to hinder the strengthening of the Georgian state – the process, as he said, which will eventually lead to a peaceful restoration of the country’s territorial integrity.
“I want my compatriots to listen to me with attention. We are getting stronger every day. We are strengthening our state structure every day. Something positive occurs every day in the process of state-building and these changes will inevitably lead us to increasing to the level which will enable us to restore our territorial integrity – and I want it very much - peacefully. But our enemy also knows this and our enemies will spare no efforts to hinder Georgia’s development,” President Saakashvili said.
He called on the society not to yield to the provocations of “anti-peace forces” which try to trigger Tbilisi into taking “radical measures.” “We should also understand that we must not let those who are against peace thwart the peace process and create obstacles for our peace initiatives,” the President stated.
“We should act like a civilized, democratic nation and demonstrate full consolidation. We must show those who are against our development that we are united nation,” he added.
Saakashvili also called on the nation and all political forces to support the government’s anti-terrorist measures. “I know that our enemies’ goals will not be fulfilled. But I want your support and understanding to solve those issues, which are related to our fight against terrorism, related to the anti-terrorism structures, to the anti-terrorism legislature and also related to the overall security of the society and to measures aimed at consolidating society,” President Saakashvili said, while addressing the nation.
However, the President did not specify exactly what kind of measures the authorities plan to undertake, or whether the government intends to propose any new anti-terrorism legislation.