Monday, 30 June 2008

Abkhazia to close border with Georgia after market bombing

SUKHUM, June 30 (RIA Novosti) - The unrecognized republic of Abkhazia will close its border with Georgia on Tuesday, Abkhaz president Sergei Bagapsh said.

Six people were injured Monday as two blasts went off at a market in Sukhum, the capital of Georgia's breakaway region of Abkhazia. Earlier reports that one person had been killed were unconfirmed.

On Sunday, six people were injured after two bombs went off in Abkhazia's Black Sea resort of Gagra.

"From tomorrow, the Georgian-Abkhaz border will close," Sergei Bagapsh told journalists. He went on to blame Georgia for the bombings.

"We know where it all comes from - from Georgia," the president said. "Having tried everything, they [Georgian authorities] have resorted to the most disgraceful thing - terrorist attacks."
Tbilisi called the accusations "absurd."

Police have stepped up security measures in the Abkhaz capital, and the president announced that he would meet with the separatist republic's Security Council later Monday.

Abkhazia's foreign minister, Sergei Shamba, earlier said the blast was caused by an explosive device and investigators have found no criminal motives for the attack.

"It is politically motivated," Shamba said. "Of course, we will investigate different possibilities, but no one has any doubt that the trail leads to Georgia."

Abkhazia broke away from Georgia in the early 1990s following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Between 10,000 and 30,000 people were killed in the subsequent fighting.

The pro-Western Georgian government of Mikheil Saakashvili has said it is determined to bring the breakaway region back under its control.

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