Defense Minister Guarantees Kodori Security

(Tbilisi, January 19, Civil Georgia) – Georgian Defense Minister Davit Tevzadze stated in interview to the state TV channel on January 18, that he has security guarantees for the Georgian population of Kodori gorge, after withdrawal of Georgian troops from the gorge.

Minister Tevzadze refused to tell what would be the security guarantee of the gorge, the only territory of breakaway Abkhazia controlled by the Georgian government.

On January 17 Georgian Special Affairs Minister Malkhaz Kakabadze signed a protocol with the Abkhazian side foreseeing Georgian army units pull out from Kodori, Abkhazian side in exchange should withdraw military hardware from lower part of Kodori and Tkvarcheli district of Abkhazia.

Georgian MPs and Head of the Abkhazian government in exile Tamaz Nadareishvili believe that after the Georgian army withdrawal from Kodori Georgian government will loose control over the gorge.

Additional army units of the Georgina Defense Ministry were dispatched to Kodori gorge in October 2001, when the armed clashes between Georgian-Chechen joint guerrilla groups and Abkhazian fighters took place, to defend local Georgian population.