TBILISI: Internal Troops to Remain in Tsalka

Internal Troops to Remain in Tsalka

Civil Georgia, Georgia
May 18 2004

Georgian Interior Minster Giorgi Baramidze visited on May 18 southern
Georgian district of Tsalka, where 100-strong unit of the Internal
Troops were dispatched last week following the clashes between the
local ethnic Armenian and Georgian population.

Giorgi Baramidze said that the troops in Tsalka will remain. “There
were attempts to trigger disagreements and clashes between the
local populations on ethnic bases, but we will not permit this,”
the Interior Minister added.

Ethnic Armenians comprise 57% of population of Tsalka district in
Kvemo Kartli region with population around 20,000, according to the
Georgian department of statistics.

4,500 ethnic Greeks, 2,500 ethnic Georgians, up to 2,000 Azerbaijanis
also live in the Tsalka district.

Local officials describe clashes between ethnic Georgians and
Armenians, which have been reported sporadically for several years,
as “a communal violence.”