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    NEW CONFLICT IN GEORGIA?

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    TBILISI, May 13, 2004 (RIA Novosti) - Georgian Interior Minister Georgi Baramidze visited the Tsalka Region in west of Georgia on Thursday as the conflict between the Armenian and Georgian population had escalated, the press service of the Georgian Interior Ministry reported.

    Mr Baramidze met representatives of the local bodies, heads of the regional police department and commanders of units of the Georgian internal troops on May 11 in the Tsalka Region where the internal troops are deployed to ensure the law and order.

    Before flying to the Tsalka Region Mr Baramidze said it was necessary to take all measures to avoid any provocations in the region.

    "Some enemy forces want to involve Georgia in a new conflict", Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili said in his traditional straight manner. At the same time he stressed that the incident that took place in the Tsalka city was not an ethnic one. It had an everyday-life background. (On the eve of the collapse of the Soviet Union there were ethnic clashes registered in the Fergana Region of Uzbekistan. Uzbek national Rafik Nishanov, once chairman of the Nationality Council of the USSR Supreme Soviet said strait away that they had everyday-life reasons. ).

    "It was not an ethnic conflict. It was just a fight. But we will not allow any breaches of the peace and we will remain unprovoked", Mr Saakashvili emphasized.

    The fight took place after a last-Sunday football match between young Georgian and Armenian inhabitants of the nearby villages. Ten people were injured.

    At requests of the locals a unit of the Georgina Interior troops consisting of 150 servicemen and a special task force unit of 30 men was deployed in the region. Military stations are located in both Armenian and Georgian villages.

    "Interior troops will stay in the region till people say they can live together well in the region", Georgian President's plenipotentiary in the Tsalka Region Josef Mazmishvili said.

    The region is known for occasional conflicts between Armenians and Georgians. The cause is their everyday life.

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