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U.S. Condemns Adjarian Leader

U.S. Department of State has condemned defiant leadership of Adjarian Autonomy’s decision to blow up key bridges in Adjara and questioned Autonomy’ leader Aslan Abashidze’s “commitment to serving the people of Adjara.”

“We’re deeply concerned about Adjarian leader Abashidze’s decision to destroy two bridges that link Adjara and other parts of Georgia. These steps disrupt key international transportation links and investments linking Georgia with Azerbaijan and Europe. They’re providing lifelines for the people of Adjara to the rest of Georgia. Abashidze’s actions lead us to question his commitment to serving the people of Adjara,” Richard Boucher, a spokesman of the U.S. Department of State said at a news briefing in Washington on May 3.

U.S. official welcomed President Saakashvili’s announcement that Georgia would not use force, and he also said that the United States “continues to encourage the Government of Georgia to use political and economic tools in its efforts to restore the rule of law in Adjara.”

“We also call upon Adjarian leader Abashidze to disarm the paramilitary forces in Adjara, as he’s previously agreed to do. Recent steps taken by Mr. Abashidze and his government raise concerns that he may be trying to provoke a military crisis with Georgia’s newly democratically elected leadership, rather than try to resolve the situation peacefully,” Richard Boucher added. 

The U.S. Department of States has also condemned frequent human right violations in Adjara.

“Over the past few months, we’ve noted our concerns about Mr. Abashidze’s willingness to allow human rights activists and journalists in Adjara to be harassed and abused; such incidents have included brutal beatings and arrests on false pretenses. The reports by international observers of extensive fraud in Adjara during the November 2nd parliamentary elections also calls into question Mr. Abashidze’s commitment to the democratic process that subsequently emerged in the rest of Georgia,” Richard Boucher said.

The U.S. official also said that Washington is in frequent talks with Moscow over the situation in the troubled Adjarian Autonomy. He said that the U.S. always tries to encourage Russia “to take steps to calm the situation and to keep Mr. Abashidze from provoking military confrontation.” Russia has a military base stationed in the Adjarian capital Batumi. 


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