ABKHAZIA READY TO SINK ALL GEORGIAN SHIPS ENTERING ITS MARINE BELT

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TBILISI, August 3 (RIA Novosti) - The Abkhaz leadership has decided to sink Georgian battleships trespassing the borders of Abkhazia's territorial area, Novosti-Georgia agency said.

"After the last Saturday's incident when a Georgian cutter attacked the Turkish cargo vessel heading for Abkhazia we decided to sink pirates," head of Abkhazia's security service Mikhail Tarba told journalists on Tuesday.

"We can protect our marine belt and offer rebuff," Mr. Tarba said. According to him, border guards will do it but if necessary the air force will be involved.

On July 30 a small cutter machine-gunned the Turkish dry cargo vessel 5-6 miles away from the shore. According to the Apnypress agency (Sukhumi), the vessel was slightly damaged and none of its crewmen was hurt. The Abkhaz air force and navy pursued the trespasser, which escaped to the neutral waters at a high speed.

Prime Minister of the self-proclaimed republic Raul Khadzhimba compared the vessel's attack with aggressive pirate actions violating the Moscow cease-fire agreement of May 14, 1994. In this connection Abkhazia withdraws from negotiations with Georgia on the Georgian-Abkhaz settlement, he stressed.

"Technical capacities of our navy has been recently increased, however, the system of the state sea border protection should be updated. Therefore, I have charged the Defense Ministry and State Security Service with taking immediate measures to raise the efficiency of the sea border protection," the premier noted.

On his part, Georgian State Minister for Separatist Conflicts Georgy Khaindrava said that Abkhazia's withdrawal from the negotiations was explained by the election campaign in the self-proclaimed republic.

"This is not a serious statement. They should understand the consequences of their actions. One should think it over before making such statements," Mr. Khaindrava noted.

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