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Tbilisi categorically rejects any allegations about Georgia's possible involvement to the tragedy in Beslan
Tbilisi categorically rejects any allegations about Georgia's possible involvement to the tragedy in North Ossetia's Beslan, Georgy Khaindrava, Georgian State Minister for Conflict Settlement, said at a press conference. "This is insulting for us when we read or hear something when the Georgian nation is associated with what happened in Beslan," he said. The minister emphasized that Georgians and Ossetians have lived together for millenniums. He noted that despite the present disputes with the leadership of the unrecognized republic of South Ossetia, "there is more common between us than differences." "Speaking about some groups or individuals allegedly existing in the Pankisi gorge who are connected with what happened in Beslan is groundless," Mr. Khaindrava stressed referring to OSCE checkpoints monitoring on the Georgian border with Chechnya and Dagestan in which ambassadors of some OSCE countries took part. Mr. Khaindrava expressed the hope that the tension between Russia and Georgia will discharge, that "the pragmatic look on the problems will dominate." In his opinion, a united and rich Georgia is advantageous for Russia. "We are waiting for Russia to help Georgia in this issue," said the state minister. Speaking about the presidential elections, to take place in the self-proclaimed republic of Abkhazia, Mr. Khaindrava recalled Tbilisi's position, in line with which these elections are not legitimate. He noted that the Georgian authorities' position in this issue is pragmatic. Tbilisi understands that "de facto, the elections will come off, and we will have to deal with these people," said the state minister. Among Abkhazian presidential hopefuls there are no pro-Georgian candidates, he added. "But we will try [to do so that] forces who have a real vision of things come to power there," said Mr. Khaindrava. The Georgian state minister believes that the fact that Abkhazian residents are given passports of the Russian Federation prevents Russian troops from participating in peacekeeping forces. "This questions the participation of Russian servicemen in peacekeeping operations. They defend their own citizens, which questions their objectivity," he said. "Though we have never questioned the necessity of peacekeeping operations," said Mr. Khaindrava. He said the Sukhumi-Moscow railway communication opening means violation of agreements. "Georgia realizes the importance of the restoration of railway communication, but this cannot take place unilaterally," said the state minister. "We think a meeting will soon be held in Astana, and the [Russian and Georgian] premiers will discuss this issue," he added.
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