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    NEWSMEN WELCOME TO PANKISI GORGE, SAYS GEORGIAN MINISTER

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    MOSCOW, MARCH 3, RIA NOVOSTI - Developments in the Pankisi Gorge are "somewhat mystified". As things really are, an operation against penetrating Chechen militants has come to final success, and journalists are welcome to see it, Georgi Khaindrava, Georgia's State Minister for Conflict Settlement, said to a Novosti news conference.

    "Certain people were flocking there at a certain time. They had taken part in Chechen warfare before. Now they are no longer there," the minister said with reference to Pankisi, a mountain gorge on the Chechen stretch of the Russian-Georgian frontier.

    There are no disputes round joint Russian-Georgian patrolling, he added. The two Frontier Services have arranged it between themselves to guard problem border stretches together.

    Mr. Khaindrava does not think it is possible to make sixty kilometres across mountain woods and glaciers to get to Pankisi from Chechnya. There are other spots, which offer an easy frontier trespass. That is where border guards are to work hard together. That concerns, in particular, Georgia's west, he said.

    Georgia will not put up with uncontrollable armed groups taking refuge, and will not tolerate anti-Russian armed units in its land, reassured the minister.

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