Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 89

President Eduard Shevardnadze warned yesterday on national radio that Georgia will, in a matter of weeks, terminate the mandate of the Russian "peacekeeping" troops in Abkhazia unless the troops immediately launch an operation to repatriate Georgians who were forced out of Abkhazia. That operation was decided at the March 28 CIS summit in Moscow, but "nothing was done" and the situation "is nearing the critical threshold," Shevardnadze charged. Tbilisi’s decision hinges on the talks underway at this moment in Moscow between Defense Ministers Igor Rodionov and Vardiko Nadibaidze, the president warned. He indicated that Georgian termination of the Russian troops’ mandate will not reignite hostilities, but will instead clear the way to direct Georgian-Abkhaz negotiations toward a political resolution of the conflict. (Interfax, April 5)

On May 3, parliament chairman Zurab Zhvania warned on national television that Georgia may also send home the Russian army and border troops stationed in other parts of Georgia, not just those deployed in Abkhazia, if the latter fail to start the operation to repatriate Georgian refugees. And also last week, Georgia asked the UN Security Council to consider authorizing "coercive measures" in order to reverse Abkhazia’s "ethnic cleansing" of Georgians. (Itar-Tass, Interfax, May 1, 3)

Shevardnadze Accuses Russia of Abetting Terrorism.