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    TERRORIST ACT IN TBILISI IS AN ATTEMPT TO AGGRAVATE GEORGIAN-RUSSIAN RELATIONS

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    TBILISI, April 7, 2004. - RIA Novosti. Secretary of Georgia's National Security Council Vano Merabishvili assessed the explosion near the headquarters of the Group of Russian Troops in the Transcaucasus in Tbilisi as a terrorist act organized with the purpose of aggravating Georgian-Russian relations.

    "This terrorist act is a provocation, an attempt to aggravate the two countries' relations, and to bring to naught the process of rapprochement between Georgia and Russia which has become visible... This explosion is directed against establishment of warm, friendly and good-neighbourly relations between the two countries," Merabishvili stated in Tbilisi.

    "It looks like our good relations with Russia do not suit Georgia's enemies who do not want establishment of stability in our country," Merabishvili stated.

    "The president of Georgia who is now staying in Brussels on a visit instructed me to promptly inform him of the investigation into the terrorist act, and to exercise personal control of the investigation of the explosion," the secretary of Georgia's National Security Council said.

    "We are glad that the life of the GRVZ commander is not endangered," he stressed.

    The National Security Council secretary positively noted the fact that Georgian and Russian specialists are jointly working to investigate the explosion. "It is a positive factor which is evidence of confidence," Merabishvili said.

    He did not rule it out that the terrorist act may be a purposeful provocation linked also with the trip of the top officials of Georgia's law-enforcement bodies to Kiev to attend a summit of the heads of the CIS countries' power and law-enforcement structures. Georgian Prosecutor-General Irakli Okruashvili, Interior Minister Georgy Baramidze and State Security Minister Zurab Adeishvili are now staying in Kiev.

    "For the time being, before the end of the investigation, we cannot claim anything," Merabishvili noted. According to him, the investigation into the explosion will be carried out within the shortest time, and the public both of Georgia and Russia will be continually informed of its course.

    On the day before, secretary of Georgia's National Security Council Vano Merabishvili, Deputy Prosecutor-General of Georgia Kakha Koberidze, and Deputy Minister of State Security Ghighi Ugulava visited the place of the explosion and the military hospital where the GRVZ commander, Major-General Alexander Studenikin, who received wounds not dangerous to his life as a result of the terrorist act, had been taken.

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