Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili said yesterday his country will start receiving emergency gas supply from Iran as early as Sunday amid shortages of fuel and electricity as the country suffered a cold snap.
"As a result of the talks conducted in Tehran by Georgian Energy Minister Nika Gilauri, an accord has been reached with the Iranian government that Iranian gas will be supplied to Georgia beginning from Sunday or Monday," Saakashvili was quoted by Itar-Tass News Agency as saying at a cabinet meeting.
Saakashvili said the gas "will be sufficient for restoring the supply of electricity and gas to the Georgian population."
Georgia's gas supply from Russia was halted early Sunday after two explosions in southern Russia ripped through a gas pipeline that links the two countries. Later in the day, another blast hit a high-voltage electricity transmission tower west of North Ossetia, causing interruption to electricity supplies to Georgia. Russian officials blamed saboteurs for the blasts.
And a snowstorm ruptured an electricity transmission line in western Georgia on Thursday, cutting supplies to eastern Georgia. The ninth unit of the Tbilisi thermoelectric power plant was also suspended on Thursday.
Many residents in the capital Tbilisi queued in long lines yesterday to buy kerosene for heaters and fill gas canisters amid subzero temperatures.
Russian officials said repair of the damaged pipeline is nearing completion and gas supply to Georgia will be resumed on Saturday.
"We are entering the final stage of repairs that will allow us to restore gas deliveries, after which work will continue," Vasily Zinovyev, general director of the Kavkaztransgas gas transport company, was quoted by Interfax News Agency as saying.
"We plan to resume gas deliveries on Saturday," he said.
(Xinhua News Agency January 28, 2006)