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Tuesday, February 10, 1998 Published at 17:15 GMT

World: Monitoring

Shevardnadze speaks about assassination attempt
image: [ Security forces sealed off the streets of the capital, Tbilisi ]
Security forces sealed off the streets of the capital, Tbilisi

Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze, speaking on TV after he survived an assassination attempt, said he had been the target of a well-planned military attack. He called for measures against "international terrorism" and said the attack could have been linked with plans for a new pipeline across Georgia for Caspian oil. Below are excerpts from his comments, as broadcast by Russian television, followed by a Georgian news agency report on the attack:

[ image: Shevardnadze appeared on TV after the attack]
Shevardnadze appeared on TV after the attack
"This was a military operation, a very well prepared and planned military operation. It is a great misfortune that two members of staff, one of whom saved me on 29th August 1995, were killed. Four people were injured. One of the attackers was also killed."

"Forces that have too much power, so to speak, have an interest in one solution or another to matters relating to the development of the pipeline. But this is just one explanation.

The fact that a passport of another state was found on the body of the criminal who was killed in the attack says a lot."

Eduard Shevardnadze talks about the attack (Dur: 1' 27" - in Russian)
"It seems to me that time has come for all the states, all the leaders, both in the West and in the East, to reconsider, as it were, the current situation with regard to fighting terrorism.

"It is the greatest evil of our times. It worries and alarms people.

"You will remember the death of the Israeli prime minister and some other politicians, and also all of what has happened to me.

"I believe all this, everything that's happened, makes us, or at least should make us, give it a serious thought and take real measures against international terrorism. I cannot rule out the possibility that what happened was an instance of international terrorism.

"As for my own mood, I an in fighting spirits, and no-one can prevent me from completing my historic mission - to build a new state, together with my people."

Sources: Russian Public TV and Russian NTV, Moscow, in Russian 10 Feb 98

Georgian news agency report on attack

Text of report

Tbilisi, 10th February: A convoy of ten cars, including the President's armoured car, was heading in the direction of the Krtsanisi government residence, at approximately 2300 [1800 gmt] on 9th February.

[ image: The attackers fired rocket-propelled grenades at the Georgian President's motorcade]
The attackers fired rocket-propelled grenades at the Georgian President's motorcade
According to the head of the government bodyguard, Vakhtang Kutateladze, who was in the car with Shevardnadze, after approximately five minutes all the cars came under fire from a Mukha-type grenade launcher.

The convoy of cars stopped and the bodyguards were engaged in crossfire. One bodyguard was killed and another two were wounded. One of the assailants was killed.

The president's car managed to drive on for one hundred metres. After that, safe and sound Shevardnadze was escorted back to the Krtsanisi residence. The head of the government bodyguard believes that the assailants had the following plan: to cripple the convoy and then kill Shevardnadze and the people accompanying him by using anti-tank grenades.

Appeal for calm

An hour after the incident, the Georgian president gave an interview to Georgian television and called on the people of Georgia to remain calm.

The president stressed that he had information that certain forces within and beyond the country wanted to destabilize the situation.

At the end of last year, the Georgian ambassador to Russia, Vazha Lortkipanidze, warned about this in an interview to Prime-News news agency.

The president voiced the hope that the incident would be investigated in an expeditious manner.

Georgian Minister of Internal Affairs Kakha Targamadze has said that all routes out of city have been sealed off and the protection of strategic installations, as well as the railway, has been reinforced.

Prime-News correspondents have witnessed the deployment of heavy combat equipment by law-enforcement bodies in the streets of the city.

On the night of 9th/10th February, the Georgian Parliament called an extraordinary session of its bureau. In order to avoid panic in Tbilisi, electricity is being supplied to the population. However, according to the timetable for rationing electricity, it should be cut off at 2400.

Opposition leader sees "hand of Moscow" at work

One of the leaders of the parliamentary opposition, the chairman of the Sakhalkho party, Mamuka Giorgadze, can already see the "hand of Moscow" in what has happened. According to Giorgadze, Moscow is very interested in destabilizing the situation in Georgia...

[ image: Shevardnadze survived a car bomb attack in 1995]
Shevardnadze survived a car bomb attack in 1995
The president is thankful to God for saving his life and has been saying with emotion that the Almighty is probably protecting him because of what he is doing for the wellbeing of the nation.

A Prime-News source in the power-wielding authorities has reported that documents found in a pocket of the killed terrorist were those of a Chechen.

Source: Prime-News news agency, Tbilisi, in Russian 2130 gmt 9 Feb 98

BBC Monitoring (, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

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