"We shall not tolerate confrontation and bloodshed in the autonomy," Georgi Baramidze, Georgia's Interior Minister, said to a news conference in Tbilisi today. "If the population wants a change of rulers, that must be done in a peaceful constitutional way. Those who are distributing weaponry will be certainly tracked down and punished." To all appearances, Adzharia is doomed to re-enact the tragedies of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, former Georgian autonomies to which Georgia introduced troops early in the 1990s to trigger off civil warfare, Aslan Abashidze, Adzhar republican leader, warned the media yesterday. "We shall have the same-casualties, disintegration, scorched earth, long conflicts, and settlement conferences abroad," he said.
Two public political organisations have been set up in Tbilisi-Our Adzharia and Democratic Adzharia. Their leaders say they are working to overthrow the present republican top.
Eduard Surmanidze, Democratic Adzharia leader and member of the Georgian political party, United Democrats, is anxious to relieve Aslan Abashidze on his post, he said to a constituent congress of his organisation, yesterday. Zurab Zhvania, party leader and Georgia's Minister of State, met his statement with harsh criticism.