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Georgia as a dangerous destination for US citizens2010-05-04 23:04
This year US Department of State came up with a repeated travel warning against visiting Georgia. "Breakaway" regions are said to be most dangerous. Violence in Tbilisi, the capital, is likely at the time of demonstrations, the department remarks. Georgia is still a "hot spot" to Americans even almost two years after the war in South Ossetia.
In a special notice on various travel destinations US Department of State discommends that US citizens go to the stronghold of democracy in Caucasus. If it is really necessary the officials advise to take "appropriate action to ensure their safety" like checking in the Bureau of Consular Affairs, monitoring local news and the US embassy site on the web, as well as staying in contact with friends and relatives at home.
US citizens were specifically cautioned about "the risks connected with trips to breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia" that Washington continues to regard as parts of Georgia despite recognition declared by several states.
Security in Abkhazia and South Ossetia is guaranteed by Russian troops due to which last year's number of tourists, 90% Russians, went up to Soviet-time indexes. Still shootouts and explosions in territories adjacent to Georgia do occur from time to time making Sukhum and Tskhinval authorities accuse and suspect the Georgian side of provocations.
Last summer, in the middle of holiday time there was an explosion on the railway track in Sukhum bringing no deaths or casualties but likely to scare away tourists. In spring 2010 Russian border guards were quick enough to disclose and neutralize a landmine on the road near Otobaya village of Gal district (Abkhazia). Sukhum representatives raised the issue at the talks with Georgians in Gal though Tbilisi's delegation refuted involvement in subversion preparation.
The situation in South Ossetia is no better. Last week unknown militaries started a shootout in Orchosan village of Leningor district. Local residents assert they were Georgians that sometimes come to the village. The Georgian police deny these suspicions saying Orchosan is under Russian control so no Georgian policeman, soldier or a EU monitor is allowed to this territory.