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Ministries Weekly Review. September 29 – October 6, 2001

Ministry of Internal Affairs

Last week one more fact of human kidnapping has been registered. Criminals have kidnapped Georgian citizen Aziz Khalilov on October 4th. The police has chased kidnappers and opened fire on them, but Khalilov himself was injured during the shooting. The police failed to free hostage. Khalilov was brought to Pankisi gorge.

The rescue operation was led by Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs Zurab Chkhaidze who left to Akhmeta very next day (October 5th). The kidnapers have released heavily injured Khalilov same day but took his father into hostage instead. According to unconfirmed sources, kidnappers demand 500,000 USD for Khalilov’s freedom, however initially the sum was said to be 30,000.

The police state that identity of kidnapers is known. Khalilov’s family agrees to pay off the ransom but law enforcers are against.

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Spanish Government actively engaged in measures to free two Spaniard businessmen who have been kidnapped last November. In the beginning of the last week representatives of the Spanish police have arrived to Tbilisi to observe the investigation process. On October 5th Spanish ambassador and consul visited Tbilisi to have meetings with Internal Affairs Minister Kakha Targamadze and Prosecutor General Gia Meparishvili. Details of conversations are unknown.

Wives of the kidnapped businessmen wish to contact the criminals. Spanish diplomats assume that such decision of the relatives is very natural, since they cannot believe in Georgian police’s ability to rescue hostages, kidnapped 10 months ago.

Last week criminals have contacted relatives of the businessmen and demanded 250 000 USD ransom.

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Last week tension increased again in Abkhazia. Russian news agencies, based on sources in Abkhazia, published information on presence of joint Georgian-Chechen troops in Kodori armed clashes with Abkhazian units. First information regarding the clashes has been distributed on October 3rd.

Sources say that both former and acting servicemen of the Internal Army are in these groups too. However, Ministry of Internal Affairs and authorities of the Internal Army refuse this information. The Georgian government does not confirm presence of Georgian-Chechen joint armed group in the territory, which is under Georgian control.

On October 1st Internal Affairs Minister Kakha Targamadze returned from Moscow. Minister stated, that he had assured Russian counterpart that there are no terrorists in Georgia. Targamadze’s visit was connected with the possible negative development of the situation in Abkhazia.

Ministry of Defense

On October 3rd first Georgian special task light vehicle “Delta I” successfully passed first tests on Iagluja military range. The vehicle is equipped with two 7.62 mm Kalashnikov machine guns and automatic grenade launcher. The vehicle might be used by special task forces. Georgian Defense Minister David Tevzadze evaluated the vehicle positively. Cost of “Delta I” is 6000 USD.

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On October 6th it has become known that the United States will grant to Georgian Defense Ministry 6 UH-1H helicopters 4 helicopters as the spare parts. The grant is being implemented in the framework of aid in security issues. Transfer of the military equipment is scheduled for October7th. Total amount of the aid is 2,3 million USD.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

On October 2-6 Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze paid an official visit to the United States of America. Foreign Minister Irakli Menagarishvili accompanied Shevardnadze during the visit. On October 5th Shevardnadze met president George W. Bush. The sides discussed issues of antiterrorist campaign. Shevardnadze once again confirmed that Georgia is ready to provide any possible assistance to the US in antiterrorist operations. During the meeting special attention has been paid to the issue of transit of energy resources through Georgian territory. It has been stated that the United States will not change their priorities in this regard.

According to the information distributed on October 3rd, during the speech at Harvard University, President Shevardnadze has stated that Georgia is oriented towards NATO and might leave from the Commonwealth of the Independent States. However, Eduard Shevardnadze did not confirm this information.

During the visit Shevardnadze also met leader of the majority of the Senate, representatives of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, presidents of “British Petroleum” and “AES” companies.

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On October 1st Ministry of Foreign Affairs has distributed statement of a high-ranking NATO official (the Ministry does not give exact name of the official) regarding suggestions, published by “Financial Times” newspaper. The newspaper article concerns softening of NATO’s position towards Russia in regard of accomplishment of OSCE Istanbul Agreement. NATO official states that there would be no changes in the positions of NATO member states towards Conventional Arms Treaty in Europe and OSCE Istanbul Agreement.

NATO representative confirmed that the Treaty Organization keeps demanding from Russia fulfillment of the terms of the agreement and liquidation of Gudauta military base.

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