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Abkhazia calms Georgia down2009-03-19 15:31
These days Abkhazia is holding command post mobilization exercise. Georgian side expressed its discontent over concentration of military contingents near the state border.
Military exercise held on March 17-18 is the second for Abkhazia this year. Its objective is to switch military command, forces, military units and commissariats from peace-time to war-time regime with gradual introduction of higher levels of combat readiness. Though the exercise is a purely scheduled activity Georgia apprehends it might be followed by "provocations".
"The Georgian side expressed its protest against the exercise; - State Minister for Reintegration Temur Yakobashvili is quoted by Interfax. - Deployment of such a great number of Abkhazian armed forces in the territory adjacent to the administrative border is alarming. The probability of provocations is extremely high but we consider it almost impossible that they might turn into a full-fledged military confrontation as it will be evaluated as confrontation between Russia and the West in the Georgian territory". Besides Yakobashili promised he would inform international organizations on the exercise in progress.
However the international organizations (the authority of which the Georgian minister is appealing to) do not avoid Sukhum regardless of Tbilisi's fierce desire. Recently the head of Abkhazian Foreign Ministry Sergey Shamba had a meeting with the UN Secretary General's Special Envoy Joseph Stephanidis. According to the ministry's press service Shamba repeatedly confirmed Abkhazia's interest in maintenance of the UN mission as major international observer in the republic. Moreover Sukhum proposed to resume quadrilateral meetings in Gali district interrupted in October 2007 and expand the number of participants adding EU representatives to people from the UN, Abkhazia, Georgia and Russia. For undefined reasons Yakobashvili stated that Tbilisi "was against reanimation of such a format". It is unclear then why the Georgian minister is speaking about possible "provocations" opposing meetings in Gali district at the same time.
Sukhum was not offended at Yakobashvili's panic; on the contrary it was decided to calm down the closest neighbor.
"The exercise in progress is not a threat to anyone", - Deputy Defense Minister Garri Kupalba told ITAR-TASS. - Such activities in the armed forces deal with Abkhazian Defense Ministr's internal affairs and shall not be coordinated with anyone except the Commander-In-Chief.