Georgia concerned with checkpoint closure on Russian border

Oct 20 2004

Georgia concerned with checkpoint closure on Russian border

Tbilisi. (Interfax-AVN) – Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili
discussed the situation near the Verkhny Lars checkpoint on the
Georgian- Russian border at a meeting with law-enforcement chiefs on

“Georgia is concerned with the closing of the border, and we demand
explanations from the Russian party,” Secretary of the National
Security Council Gela Bezhuashvili told reporters.

Georgia seeks ways out of the situation, because vehicles with
cargoes and passengers have amassed again on both sides of the
border, Bezhuashvili said.

Russia’s decisions to restrict traffic through Verkhny Lars and then
to close down the checkpoint were made in early September due to the
hostage-taking drama in the North Ossetian town of Beslan.

The border has been opened only four times since then. The latest
opening occurred on October 11, when all the people and vehicles that
had amassed on both sides of the border were allowed to go through.
“A total of over 500 vehicles and over 650 people were cleared and
allowed to cross the Russian-Georgian border,” Lieutenant Colonel
Sergei Livantsov, chief of the North Caucasus regional border guard
directorate’s press service, told Interfax-AVN. Most of the border
crossers were citizens of Armenia, who wanted to leave Russia.