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    PEACEKEEPING FORCES NOT NECESSARY IN ADZHARIA, SAYS GEORGIAN AMBASSADOR

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    MOSCOW, March 15, 2004. (RIA Novosti) - There is no need to use the peacekeeping forces in Adzharia, Georgian ambassador to Russia Konstantin Kemularia said at a Monday news conference.

    "On March 28 democratic elections will be held in Adzharia, but no peacekeeping efforts are needed there, and I hope they will not be necessary in the future too," he underscored.

    Georgians live in Adzharia, and it is this fact that distinguishes the situation in Adzharia from the situation in the Tskhinvali region (the North Ossetian self-proclaimed republic of Georgia) and also from the situation in Abkhazia (also a self-proclaimed republic of Georgia), explained the ambassador.

    "There are no grounds for conflict, except far-fetched, dirty and partly criminal grounds," he said. During the presidential elections the residents of Adzharia supported Mikhail Saakashvili," the ambassador reminded the audience.

    Answering the question about guarantees for the Russian military bases in case of a military confrontation between Tbilisi and Batumi, the ambassador underscored that "even under the hypothetical raising of this question, Georgia guarantees the immunity of Russian military bases, Russian servicemen and Russian citizens."

    The ambassador flatly refuted Aslan Abashidze's statement that President Saakashvili threatened to shoot down the Adzharian leader's plane.

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