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Georgia Hands Over Russian Spy Suspects
/ 2 Oct.'06 / 16:46
Civil Georgia

Georgia will release four Russian military officers arrested on espionage charges, President Saakashvili said on October 2 after talks with visiting OSCE Chairman-in-Office, Belgian Foreign Minister Karel De Gucht.

But he stressed that release of the Russia officers is “a good gesture towards our western friends,” and not a response to threats voiced by Russia's leaders.

“The agreement has been reached to hand over arrested Russian officers to the OSCE, to the OSCE Chairman-in-Office,” Saakashvili said.

But he stressed that by arresting the Russian officers Georgia has uncovered “a very solid case of espionage to sabotage my country.”

“We have destroyed an intelligence network in Georgia,” he added.

“This case has been documented and has very strong legal evidence… We have some of the additional materials which we are handing over to the OSCE,” Saakashvili said.

He also said that Georgia has been hearing Russia’s “menace” about a possible military intervention “for months and years and in fact since Georgia’s independence in 1991.”

“The message of Georgia to our neighbor Russia is, enough is enough. We want to have a constructive dialogue with Russia, but we can not be treated as a second grade backyard,” Saakashvili said.

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