Turkey, Georgia strike deal on jailed captain

Georgia said on Monday it had agreed with Turkey on the fate of a tanker captain jailed for carrying fule to Abkhazia, hinting at his imminent release.

Turkey, Georgia strike deal on jailed captain
Georgia said on Monday it had agreed with Turkey on the fate of a tanker captain jailed for carrying fule to Abkhazia, hinting at his imminent release.

Asked after meeting his Turkish counterpart whether they had agreed on the release of the Turkish captain, who was jailed last week for 24 years, Georgian Foreign Minister Grigol Vashadze told reporters:

"I think we found a solution to this issue. The final decision will be announced tomorrow after the meeting with the Georgian president."

"I think we found a solution suitable for all sides."

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said last week captain Mehmet Ozturk would be released in exchange for an $18,000 fine, which tanker operator Densa said it would pay. Seventeen crew members were freed on Saturday.

Davutoglu will meet Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili on Tuesday. He said talks with Vashadze had been fruitful.

"Georgia and Turkey are strategic partners and allies, and we should take care in order that such things do not happen again in the future," he said.

The Turkish tanker, operating under a Panama flag with a Turkish and Azeri crew, was seized in August as it tried to deliver 2,000 tonnes of petrol and 700 tonnes of diesel.

Its operator says the vessel was seized at gunpoint in international waters. Georgian coastguard authorities said they detained the ship in Georgian waters. It had made several trips to Abkhazia before.



Reuters
Last Mod: 07 Eylül 2009, 12:15
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