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Abashidze Flees Georgia

Abashidze has ruled Adjara for 13 years with
a firm hand.

“Abashidze has fled, Adjara is free,” President Saakashvili said and congratulated Georgians, as he described, “with a second bloodless revolution” in Georgia.

President Saakashvili also said that Abashidze’s resignation “will pave the way for Georgia’s prosperity.” “It will be the beginning of Georgia’s territorial integrity,” Mikheil Saakashvili added.

Aslan Abashidze, who unilaterally ruled Georgia’s western region of Adjara at the Black Sea Coast for past decade, left for Moscow after the overnight talks with the Secretary of Russian National Security Council Igor Ivanov in Batumi.

In scenes reminiscent of the last November "Rose Revolution" news about Abashidze’s resignation triggered celebrations in the streets of Batumi, where thousands of protesters were rallying demanding from Abashidze to step down.

General Prosecutor, Interior Minister and Prime
Minister in Aslan Abashidze’s former residence
in Batumi.

The protesters in Batumi, accompanied by Georgian Prime Minister Zurab Zhvania and other members of the cabinet, moved towards the Abashidze’s residence, which was abandoned by ex-Adjarian leader’s security forces after his resignation.

“As it was expected he [Abashidze] left for Russia. President will arrive in the morning in Adjara to thank the local population,” Parliamentary Chairperson Nino Burjanadze told reporters.

Abashidze made no comments before departure. However, after talks with Igor Ivanov Abashidze appealed around hounded supporters gathered outside his residence in Batumi to disperse. “Go homes,” he told supporters.

Reports say that Abashidze left for Russia with his family members and several top officials of his government, who remained loyal to Abashidze till end.


Earlier on May 5 President Saakashvili said, “the hours of Abashidze’s regime are numbered” and offered a safe passage to the Adjarian leader. Saakashvili, who spoke twice with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on May 5, asked Russia to grant Aslan Abashidze political asylum.

Direct presidential rule will be imposed on Adjarian Autonomy, according to Mikheil Saakashvili. “A special council will rule the region, before the snap local elections are held in Adjara,” he added.

Mikheil Saakashvili also said that Georgia should be “proud, because we have managed to carry out two bloodless revolutions during several months.” Last November peaceful demonstrations in Tbilisi forced ex-President Shevardnadze to step down.

Russian security chief Igor Ivanov was dispatched to Batumi on May 5 after the phone talks between Saakashvili and Putin.

Arrival of Igor Ivanov, the Secretary of Russian National Security Council is a good sign for the Georgia’s central authorities.

Last November, Ivanov, who served as Russia’s Foreign Minister then, arrived in Georgia and mediated between former opposition leader Mikheil Saakashvili and Georgian ex-President Eduard Shevardnadze that led to latter’s resignation.


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