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    CAN GEORGIA'S PRESIDENT RESORT TO FORCE TO SOLVE ADZHARIA (ISSUE)?

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    TBILISI, March 15, 2004. (RIA Novosti) - An emergency session of the government of Georgia to discuss the situation in Adzharia (one of Georgia's three autonomous regions, which unlike the two others - Abkhazia and South Ossetia - remains loyal to the central authorities in Tbilisi) will be held on Monday in the Black Sea town of Poti (western Georgia), reported News-Georgia agency.

    Georgia's Interior Minister Georgy Baramidze, in an interview with journalists in Poti on Sunday, said that the reason for calling the session was an incident on the bridge across the Choloki river (Adzharia's administrative frontier), where Georgia's President Mikhail Saakashvili and his party were not let into the autonomy on Sunday.

    According to the agency, at the government session Saakashvili intends to raise the question of closing the airspace over Adzharia, shutting the check point Sarpi on the border with Turkey, sealing off the sea port of Batumi, and clamping a ban on the import of large-sized commodities into Adzharia.

    "These measures are aimed at stopping the financing of the regime established in Adzharia," he said.

    On Sunday evening, Georgia's President Saakashvili issued an ultimatum to Adzharia's leader Aslan Abashidze - in the course of 24 hours to give the Georgian head of state freedom to travel through the territory of the autonomy.

    "I give time to Abashidze until tomorrow evening for him to allow the Georgian president to move across Adzharia, and to start disarming illegal armed formations on the autonomy's territory," Saakashvili said from Poti, where he is staying.

    "Aslan Abashidze must also give the possibility for any person on the territory of Adzharia freely to express their opinion and political views and ensure a democratic election campaign on the autonomy's territory and the holding of elections to Georgia's parliament on March 28 of this year in an honest and fair setting," the president noted.

    The president of Georgia did not rule out that measures would be taken to get frozen in Georgia and abroad the banking accounts of individuals and legal entities from among the members of Adzharia's leadership.

    "I warn Abashidze that if even a single hair falls from the heads of members of the opposition on Adzharia's territory, the government of Georgia will respond to this in a very serious manner," said the president of Georgia.

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