The construction of a Georgia’s second “NATO standard” military base less than 20 miles from Tskhinvali, the capital of breakaway South Ossetia, is being protested by separatist leaders. Ossetian leaders charge that construction of the base near Gori is a sign that Tbilisi is preparing to use force in to reestablish its authority over the territory. Georgian officials deny any belligerent intentions. Georgia’s first “NATO standard” base was completed last year in the western town of Senaki—close to Georgia’s other separatist enclave, Abkhazia.
Irina Gagloyeva, head of Ossetian government’s press service in Tskhinvali, said: “[T]hey are preparing to solve our problem exclusively by strong-arm methods. Meanwhile, the trite statements on the part of Georgian politicians on a commitment to peace are only an ordinary verbal smokescreen.” (EurasiaNet, March 27)