Representative of the President of Georgia to Kodori Gorge, Head of “Kodori” Operative Direction of the Defense Ministry. Colonel (Kodori – the only territory in Abkhazia controlled by Georgian government )
Givi Ordenidze – Journalist, Civil Georgia (G.O.): Mr. Kvitsiani, what is a situation in Kodori now?
Emzar Kvitsiani (E.K.): It is quiet now. There are no accidents. The population has calmed down when they saw that Georgia can shoot down helicopters.
G.O.: Where is Georgian-Chechen armed group now. Did they leave Abkhazian territory?
E.K.: I do not know.
G.O.: Who exactly shot down those helicopters that you mentioned?
E.K.: Georgian armed forces did, contingent of the Defense Ministry which was there. Main point is that we are able to down the helicopters.
G.O.: Were there any casualties during bombing of Kodori gorge? Do you have an information about casualties among partisans?
E.K.: Neither peaceful population nor the Georgian armed forces had any casualties. We have only one border guard killed, but he died of explosion of a land mine. As far as I know, one partisan is dead, he was buried in Georgievskoe village. I do not know anything about Chechens’ losses.
G.O.: Is it possible that Chechen fighters who entered Abkhazia from Kodori will return back to the gorge? In such case would their relations with the local population worsen?
E.K.: I do not think that they return back, but even if they do, there would be nothing dangerous about it. Population of Kodori has no relations with them and never would.
G.O.: Is it possible that Sukhumi government would try to capture Kodori to ensure that there will be no more assaults on them in the future any more?
E.K.: I wish they really try to do so. This will be a trigger for return of Abkhazia completely.
G.O.: In such case who would be our force? Local population or the Defense Ministry?
E.K.: Defense Ministry of course and the whole Georgia, patriotic forces in Georgia.
G.O.: So you support forceful way of return of Abkhazia?
E.K.: Yes I do, because I miss that land very much. But we must not shoot first.
G.O.: How real are the chances of return of Abkhazia until the Russian base exists there?
E.K.: Those are peacekeeping units, which does not have right to interfere into our affairs. But if they do, then we must say our word, as we ought to. This is our land after all.
G.O.: How neutral Russian peacekeepers are today?
E.K.: How can the forces, which wish to takeover Abkhazia be neutral? I know many facts about Russians assisting Abkhazians to kill Georgians and assisting Georgians to kill Abkhazians.
G.O.: What happened in Abkhazia, how would you evaluate these processes?
E.K.: It is clear that there was a planned attempt for large-scale provocation. But with help of the Lord, Georgia escaped the danger. Ultimate goal of all these processes was to bomb Samegrelo and launch fightings in Zugdidi.
G.O.: Why did Chechens fought in these clashes?
E.K.: I know their goal. They were going back to their country, trying to find a way through. There are suggestions that they tried to amend mistake they have done in the previous war (1992-93) when fought on Abkhazian side, but this is complete fib.
G.O.: Is any of the side detaining prisoners?
E.K.: I do not know. I only have data of the Red Cross. They said that Abkhazians have captured 9 Georgians. I do not know if Georgian partisans have captured Abkhazians.
G.O.: Government of Armenia expresses its concern regarding casualties among ethnic Armenian peaceful population in result of the clashes. Sources say that 14 Armenians have died. What would be your comment regarding this matter?
E.K.: They were killed during bombing of the lower part of the gorge by Abkhazians. I think that Erevan must apply to drastic measures to protect their people.
Large part of Armenian population fought against us in Abkhazian war. When the time comes and we return to Abkhazia, those Armenians hardly would live besides Georgians they fought against.
Recently Armenian TV distributed disinformation, saying that I am launching genocide against Armenians. This is a fabrication. How could I genocide anyone from Tbilisi? And why should I genocide them? Armenians fought on our side too.