Goergian IM expected in Tsalka to get first-hand information


May 13 2004

TSALKA, MAY 13, ARMENPRESS: Georgia’s interior minister is expected
to travel to Tsalka, the region of a recent clash between Armenians
and Georgians, to get first-hand information. The clash occurred on
May 9 after a football match in the center of Tsalka, leaving some
10 people with different injuries.

A local A-Info news agency said Georgian law-enforces have opened a
criminal case into the accident. It said the tension has somewhat
diffused now, quoting also the chief of the local administration,
Razmik Hanesian, as saying that 150 servicemen of the interior
ministry, dispatched to the region, will remain for several more days.

Members of the Georgian community are still complaining that Armenians
are armed and that they fear new clashes, but the agency said it
is the Georgians who are armed, citing several incidents when they
terrorized Armenians by their guns.

Earlier Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili said one should not
consider the fight between Georgians and ethnic Armenians in Tsalka as
an ethnic conflict. “I don’t want to dramatize the situation. This is
not an inter-ethnic conflict. It was a common fight between Georgians
and Armenians. But we will not allow violation of law and order and
we are not going to be involved in a provocation,” he said.