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Sides Warn of ‘Tensions’ in Akhalgori
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 25 Aug.'08 / 21:26

Both Georgian officials and the secessionist authorities in breakaway South Ossetia said on August 25 that the situation was “tense” in Akhalgori.

Akhalgori is a small town of mixed Georgian-Ossetian population on the eastern edge of the South Ossetian administrative border. The town administratively is part of the former South Ossetian Autonomous District, but it only came under secessionist control as a result of the recent conflict.

Alexandre Lomaia, the secretary of Georgia’s National Security Council, said on Monday evening that there was a threat of escalation in Akhalgori, which, he said, “is now under the control of Ossetian gangs.”

“We are observing all the points of the [six-point] ceasefire agreement, but if these illegal formations continue looting and terrorizing the local population and if they start moving south of the villages where the Georgian central government’s jurisdiction has been restored, there will be an appropriate response,” Lomaia told the Georgian Public Broadcaster.

He said that Georgia’s “western partners” had been informed of developments in Akhalgori and they were undertaking “active efforts” to prevent a further escalation in tensions.

Meanwhile, the South Ossetian secessionist authorities said that “a concentration of Georgian police forces” on the administrative border with South Ossetia, close to Akhalgori, was to blame for the mounting tensions in the area.

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