Amiran Gamkrelidze, the Head of the National Center for Disease Control and Public Health of Georgia, which runs the Lugar Research Center, brushed away Russia’s bio-warfare allegations about the Center. Voicing a stiffly worded address to his Russian counterparts, Gamkrelidze said thirty years passed since the demise of the Soviet union and that “Moscow is no longer calling the shots.”
In a briefing aired on May 28, NCDC Head Amiran Gamkrelidze turned down Moscow’s request to allow a team – staffed solely by Russian experts – to inspect Center’s facilities.
Gamkrelidze stressed that Russian experts were not entitled to preferential treatment and they would only be authorized to inspect Lugar Center premises in the framework of an international mission.
Gamkrelidze’s Deputy Paata Imnadze, who is directly in charge of leading the Center, referred to a thorough inspection conducted under the aegis of the Biological Weapons Convention, underlining that Russia refused to take part in that mission.
The Russian Foreign Ministry called into question Lugar Research Center’s compliance with the Biological Weapons Convention in a statement released on May 26. Moscow requested an access to laboratory facilities for Russian specialists, “including the premises occupied by the American specialists.”
Tbilisi decried Russia’s allegations, accusing it of leading a vicious attempt to undermine “the role [played] by a successful institution [Lugar Center] in [safeguarding] Georgian and regional security.”
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