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Situation in Gali region stabilised, Georgian officials report

By Mzia Kupunia
Tuesday, June 8
The situation in the villages of Repi and Dikhazurga in the Gali region is stable compared to Sunday, the legitimate Abkhazian Government reported on Monday. The people who fled from the villages to the nearby forest after an attack by armed Abkhazian men have returned to their homes, Abkhazian Media Centre representatives told The Messenger.

“Abkhazian militants burnt down 5 houses in the villages of Dikhazurga and Repi on Sunday and kidnapped three of the residents, including the Governor of Dikhazurga, however all of them were freed later,” Lela Kikalishvili of the Media Centre said.

According to the legitimate Abkhazian Government this “execution operation” was connected with the murder of two de facto Abkhazian officials in the region. On June 1 an employee of the de facto Abkhazian customs service was killed and on June 3 the head of the de facto Abkhazian administration in the village of Repi was murdered. De facto Sokhumi authorities have accused the Georgian side of organising these murders. Georgian officials deny any link with the incidents and state that the distribution of taxes collected in the villages prompted the murders.

De facto Abkhazian officials have categorically denied holding any “execution operation” in Gali region. Head of the de facto Interior Ministry headquarters in Gali Murman Gegia said, “no operation of any kind, let alone an execution operation, has been conducted in the Gali region. No houses have been burnt down and nobody has been beaten up. This allegation is completely absurd and has nothing to do with reality.” He added that, “If anyone is committing crimes in the Gali region it is the Georgian bands who killed two of our citizens as a result of terrorist attacks last week. The criminals fled to Georgian territory and this explains everything,” he added.

Meanwhile a Georgian delegation has left for Switzerland to participate in the Geneva talks on June 8. According to the Georgian Foreign Ministry one of the main issues they will raise will be a “demand for the suspension of acts of vandalism against ethnic Georgians living on the occupied territories.” Speaking at the traditional Monday press briefing Deputy Foreign Minister Davit Jalaghania said that “the Georgian side will raise the issue of launching international observation mechanisms and peace missions in the occupied regions, as well as that of returning the IDPs from Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali region to their homes.”

Another Deputy Foreign Minister, Giga Bokeria, is leading the Georgian delegation at the11th round of Geneva negotiations while Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin leads the Russian delegation, Vyacheslav Chirikba, Representative of the de facto Abkhazian President, heads the Sokhumi delegation and Boris Chochiev, Representative of the de facto South Ossetian President, leads the Tskhinvali region delegation.