Georgia president resists calls to fire scandal-plagued minister

TBILISI, March 17 (RIA Novosti) - Georgia's president Thursday resisted calls to dismiss the country's interior minister despite a murder scandal currently rocking the country, the Novosti-Georgia news agency said Friday.

"I am not going to dismiss Vano Merabishvili from his post because he is a very good minister," Mikheil Saakashvili said in a statement, adding that Georgia's law-enforcement agencies were now more efficient than ever before.

Merabishvili has come under increasing pressure following the murder in January of Sandro Girgvliani, a 28-year-old manager at United Georgian Bank. Girgvliani's family, opposition movements and non-governmental organizations have accused top Interior Ministry officials of complicity in the murder, and demanded Merabishvili's dismissal.

Although the murder was solved and some ministry officials arrested, the opposition and the family continue demanding that Merabishvili be fired and the "contractors of the murder, rather than the perpetrators, be punished."

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