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Georgia Offers To Provide List Of Pankisi Residents

2 October 2004 -- Georgia's Interior Minister Irakli Okruashvili said today that his country is ready to provide Russia with a list of all people living in the Pankisi Gorge.

Okruashvili, who is on a visit to Kyiv to attend a summit of CIS interior ministers, said such a move could help Georgia dismiss Russian accusations that Pankisi continues to serve as a safe haven for Chechen separatist fighters.

Pankisi borders Chechnya to the south. Several hundred Chechen civilians have found shelter there since war resumed in their region five years ago.

Moscow has suggested some of the armed militants responsible for the Beslan hostage crisis last month may have entered Russia from Pankisi.

Georgia denies the charge, saying the area has long been cleansed of all Chechen fighters.

(Civil Georgia/Prime News/Rustavi-2)