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State of Emergency in Adjara Prompts Saakashvili’s Military Rhetoric

Saakashvili: everyone who will take arms
against the Georgian state will be liquidated.
In the wake of Adjarian leadership’s decision to impose state of emergency in defiant Autonomous Republic, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili warned the he will not hesitate to use force in case of threat to country’s territorial integrity.

Mikheil Saakashvili reiterated, while addressing Georgian soldiers trained by the U.S. military instructors on April 24, that central authorities of Georgia will “free Adjara from criminal clans.” “We want peace, but in case of threat to Georgia’s territorial integrity, we will use force without any hesitation,” the Georgian President added.

Saakashvili, who categorically demands from Adjarian leader Aslan Abashidze to disarm his paramilitary forces, said “everyone who will take arms against the Georgian state will be liquidated.”

Saakashvili’s warnings came an hour after the Adjara’s upper chamber of the parliament approved state of emergency in the Autonomous Republic – a move described by the Georgia’s central authorities as illegal.

Adjarian leadership explained that the enforcement of the state of emergency was in a response to “anticipated armed attacks on the region” and Georgian Parliament’s decree, which describes the Adjarian authorities’ activity as “an open attempt to encroach country’s territorial integrity.”

“The central authorities have launched preparations for an attack against the Autonomous Republic. The army is also being prepared. Attack might start any time. The central authorities are ready for this,” Antaz Kikava, the Chairman of the Adjarian parliament’s upper chamber said at the session on April 24.
State of emergency is enforced in Adjara for third time for past five months. Georgian Prime Minister condemned the decision and said, “only the President has right to impose state of emergency in Georgia.”

On April 23 The Georgian Parliament approved decree regarding the recent developments in the Adjarian Autonomy and instructed the President and the government to carry out all the necessary measures in order “to neutralize illegal armed groups” in the Adjara Autonomous Republic.

The deputies also demanded from the government to react on each case of human rights violation in Adjara. The Foreign Ministry will have to inform international community regarding the situation in the Adjarian Autonomy, according to the Parliament’s decree.
“Adoption of this decree does not mean that resources for peaceful settlement of the crisis are exhausted,” Nino Burjanadze, the Parliamentary Chairperson said at the session on April 23.

Four of the six deputies, elected in Adjara’s single-mandate constituencies and representing Adjarian leader Aslan Abashidze’s Revival Union, attended the Parliament’s session. They expressed protest regarding the statement and demanded from the central authorities to give up alleged plans to forcefully regain control over the region.

“Problem of disarmament might be solved in a week if the central authorities refuse to use force against the [Adjarian] region. On the other hand Aslan Abashidze is following the agreement reached with President Saakashvili [in March]. The representatives of President are operating in port of Batumi and Sarpi customs checkpoint [at Turkish border],” MP Vakhtang Abashidze of Revival Union said at the Parliamentary session on April 23.
Officials in Tbilisi already question legitimacy of Abashidze’s regime. Georgian Deputy Security Minister has recently described Aslan Abashidze as “de facto Head of the Adjarian Autonomy.” Earlier, President Saakashvili said that Abashidze has no right to speak on behalf of the Adjarian population, “as he has never been elected by the Adjarians.”

MP Davit Berdzenishvili, who is President Saakashvili close ally and radical opposition to Abashidze, has already pushed the issue of cancellation of mandates for those six MPs elected in the Adjara’s single-mandate constituencies on November 2, 2003 elections. Berdzenishvili said at the Parliamentary session on April 22 that widespread ballot fraud during last November’s elections triggers doubts over the legitimacy of those MPs elected in Adjara’s single-mandate constituencies.


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