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Abkhazia and South Ossetia terrorism threat

By Messenger Staff
Tuesday, August 10
US State Department in its recent official report stated that Abkhazia and South Ossetia contain threats from a terrorism point of view. The main argument for this is that potentially dangerous substances could reach those territories from Russia. Georgian analysts think that this is another issue for the agenda of dialogue between the USA and Russia, in which the main topic is the occupation of Georgia’s territories. Georgians however think it unlikely that much will change in Moscow and Washington relations or in their relations with Georgia.

Georgian analysts believe that in this report the US State Department clearly implies that the Russians maintain control of the situation in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which might contain the threat of terrorism. Therefore the responsibility for the circumstances in those territories falls on the Kremlin's shoulders.

Of course, the State department report is a serious political document; any kind of statement in it is well-balanced and responsible, however this particular document gives very clear hints. Political analyst and former FM of Georgia during the Shevardnadze administration, Irakli Menagarishvili does not believe that USA is accusing Russia of creating terrorism threats but is giving serious hints that the situation in these two regions is not under control. And as everybody knows, the territories are fully controlled by Russia, so it is presumably the responsible party. The hints are quite transparent.

The State department is very reserved in its official statements. For instance, it did not say that Abkhazian and South Ossetian territories are occupied by Russia; that comment was only made by the official bodies in their verbal statements. In other words the formula is not officially documented even though it has been said.

Georgian analysts think that the hints in the US State Department's official report will be used as arguments during further negotiations with Moscow when discussing the Georgian issue. In reality however, this will make little difference to the bilateral relations between Moscow and Washington; both parties are interested in maintaining if not the most friendly and cordial, at least civilized and normal relations. The State department report also mentioned that Georgia is contributing to anti-terrorism activities, highlighting in particular that it is part of the operations in Afghanistan. The report also rejects the Russian argument for the allegation of detecting Chechen terrorists hiding in Georgia's Pankisi Valley.

Georgian analysts and officials recognise the US State Department report as a new assessment of the real situation in Georgia and therefore appreciate its support. Of course Georgians would prefer this support to be more substantial, but let us not anticipate any significant breakthrough on the issue in the near future.