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Georgia declines Chechen Offer to restore Order in Pankisi Gorge

Georgian National Security Council Secretary Gela Bezhuashvili and Deputy Minister of State Security Batu Kutelia both said on 4 November that Tbilisi is competent to establish law and order in the Pankisi Gorge without any outside help, Caucasus Press and ITAR-TASS reported.

On 3 November, Reuters quoted Chechen First Deputy Prime Minister Ramzan Kadyrov as saying Chechen officials are "fed up" with Georgia's tolerance of Chechen militants in Pankisi and are ready to "establish order" there.

Bezhuashvili proposed that Kadyrov focus his energy on establishing order in Chechnya.

Kadyrov, undaunted, reiterated on 4 November that "we are ready to carry out a special operation in Pankisi" if orders to do so are issued, but this does not mean that "we are going to rush into Georgia at breakneck speed," Russian media reported.

(RFE/RL 05.xi.04)

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