Shevardnadze to tell UN of 'holy war' threat
Friday 25 September 1992
With reference to Georgia's conflict with separatists in the western province of Abkhazia, in which more than 70 people have been reported killed in the past month, Mr Shevardnadze is to suggest that Muslim groups in the Caucasian mountains inside Russia and to the north of Georgia have linked with Abkhazians, who are also Muslims, in a 'holy war' against Armenia and Georgia.
In an interview with the Independent in Tbilisi before flying to New York, Mr Shevardnadze said there was evidence of outside help from other Muslim countries, but he declined to name any.
In Russia, he blamed the Chechens, who inhabit the northern slopes of the Great Caucasus, and the self-styled Confederation of Caucasian Mountain People, who have vowed to 'break the back of Georgian fascism' by declaring Georgia a 'zone of hostilities'. The confederation's leader, Musa Shanibov, was arrested this week on the orders of the Russian prosecutor, on charges of fomenting ethnic strife. Mr Shevardnadze said: 'I still hope we shall find political means to settle the conflict in Abkhazia . . . but if the Chechens continue their attacks, many lives will be lost and it will draw out into a big war.'
Georgia moved 3,000 troops into Abkhazia after the parliament of the autonomous region demanded more independence. Abkhazia became an autonomous region inside Georgia in 1921. Its population of 500,000 is predominantly Georgian, and there are fewer than 100,000 Abkhazians, but they have a majority of seats in the legislature. The Georgians said 7,000 men had moved into Abkhazia from the mountains and from Chechen, vowing to defend the Abkhazians against the Georgian intervention.
A Georgian unit was reported missing yesterday after Abkhazian nationalists led an offensive near the city of Gagra, west Georgia, according to Itar-Tass news agency, AFP reports.
Georgian troops were encircled by Abkhazian fighters in the town of Kolkhida, near Gagra. One Georgian soldier was killed and eight wounded. The Black Sea resort of Gagra, north of Sukhumi, was controlled by Georgian troops who entered Abkhazia in August.
- 2 Friends 20th anniversary: Alison Jackson photographs reunited cast
- 3 Friends 20th anniversary: The highs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
- 5 Free U2 album: How the most generous giveaway in music history turned into a PR disaster
Scottish independence: Despite defeat history may still point to Alex Salmond as the victor
Scottish independence referendum: Frankie Boyle reacts to nation's 'No' vote - 'To be fair, I've always hated Scotland'
Iranian blogger found guilty of insulting Prophet Mohammad on Facebook sentenced to death
Scottish referendum: Police struggle to control Unionist rally in Glasgow's George Square
Glasgow 'riots': 'Dishonest' social media users accused of fuelling panic with pictures from London riots
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Scottish independence: The Queen breaks silence on referendum debate – as think tank warns of £14bn black hole if Scotland votes Yes
£75 - £90 per day + negotiable: Randstad Education Group: Are you a cover supe...
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...
£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...
£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...