During his traditional Monday briefing President Shevardnadze talked about the main issues of the last week. Journalists expressed special interest in President’s opinion on decision by the Supreme Council of Adjarian Autonomous Republic. On July 7 the Supreme Council adopted a decision, according to which the amendments would be made to the Autonomous Republic’s constitution in order to create a two-chamber parliament. 10 senators and 35 members (elected by proportional system) would be represented in this parliament. It should be mentioned, that Georgia has one chamber parliament at present.
Such decision means, that Adjaria might have local self-governance elections independently even if the election would not be held in whole Georgia. That’s why this decision caused major opposition of the points of view. Some independent experts regard this decision of the Supreme Council as an implementation of “judicial separatism” from the Adjarian side.
President Shevardnadze himself clearly confirmed during the briefing that he does not see any kind of danger in creation of two-chamber parliament in Adjaria. “Adjaria would not need to be ‘original’ in regard of local self-governance elections, planned for autumn. If the Parliament accepts my proposal on local self-governance, then elections would be held in whole Georgia, except the territories, which we do not control (Abkhazia and South Osetia). I think, that two-chamber legislative organ in Adjaria is completely acceptable,” stated President. He thinks, that there is no need in dramatism in this regard. “There is only one regret: If there would have been any preliminary consultations or just phone calls to the ‘center’ we would have avoided such misunderstandings” added President.
President instructed the Ministry of Justice to study the decision of the Supreme Council of Adjarian Autonomous Republic to confirm that it does not contradict with the Constitution.
Last week Russian mass media distributed news according to which military actions in Chechnia near the Georgian border might move to Georgian territory. In this regard President Shevardnadze stated, that he does not consider this as a serious perspective. “I exclude the possibility of Russian militaries intrusion to Georgian territory. This would not be a wise decision. I think, that Russia has a very wise President and he would never make such step”. In this connection, President emphasized the meeting of the leaders of border guard authorities of CIS countries, which will be held in Tbilisi.
In his radio interview last Monday, President Shevardnadze said that Russia submitted to the UN Security Council new proposals on division of rights between Tbilisi and Sukhumi. Journalists expected President to give further details on this document, but President stated that he does not wish to disclose the document yet, however he did add that this paper is a “step forward and much more constructive than the previous version presented by the Russian side. But until the experts have not finished their work on this document I would refrain form its disclosure. Everything will become known during the Security Council’s session on July 25th”.
Issue of delayed signature of Georgian-Russian frame agreement has been touched as well. President told the press, that he cannot name an exact date of signature, but meanwhile intensive elaboration of the document is in process it would definitely be signed. Delay is caused by objective reasons and there is nothing alarming going on.
President refused to make any comments on withdrawal of Batumi and Akhalkalaki military bases. As it is known, Russia requests to keep these bases in Georgia for next 14 years. President told the journalists, that there are negotiations going on in this regard and he would like to refrain from any comments yet. He also said, that the issue of rent to be paid by Russia for use of these bases would be included in the frame agreement.