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Mikhail Saakashvili :"No big-time Chechen criminals are in Georgia now"
No big-time Chechen criminals are in Georgia now, and the country is determined to oust paramilitaries down to the last man, President Mikhail Saakashvili said in a Novosti interview. A Georgian-Russian agreement signed last week envisages the Chechen frontier stretch jointly patrolled. The arrangement is to start urgently, with spring thaw on in the Caucasian highlands to open easy crossing. It is essential for Georgia to prevent Chechen rebels penetrating it, and block their way back to Russia, if any remain in Georgia to this day. Georgia is anxious to rid of Chechen paramilitaries, and willing to cooperate with Russia. Meanwhile, this alliance with Russian law-enforcement agencies is fairly smooth in tracking rebels down and extraditing them to Russia. The President had called Moscow on repeated occasions to specify paramilitaries' names and supposed whereabouts in Georgia. Russia is free to send secret service officers to Georgia for detection-a proposal it has been ignoring to this day. President Saakashvili rules out use of force in Adzharia, recalcitrant autonomy within Georgia. Tbilisi's policies are finding every support with the Adzhar public. "The local leader [republican President Aslan Abashidze] has no backing from the population. He does not like the situation. Why, that's his own problem." The Adzhar issue will be settled promptly and peacefully, reassured President Saakashvili. He is in Warsaw for European economic summitry of April 28-30.
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