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    BATUMI, March 15, 2004. (RIA Novosti) - Partisans of Georgia's President Mikhail Saakashvili may make a violent invasion of Adzharia. Jamal Goghitidze, Interior Minister of the recalcitrant autonomy, does not rule out the danger.

    "We do expect it - the people are up to anything," he said while addressing a Russian media gathering on the Adzharian administrative border today.

    "Saakashvili's men are at a loss and blushing. They are anxious to get out of their predicament but, as far as we know, they are mustering forces, at the same time." The minister vouched to do all he could to retain Adzharian stability. "We want to avoid clashes. We shall respond to goodwill by goodwill, and to violence by violence. We are strong enough to pay in kind - we are ready to face forced air and sea landings alike." Armed Adzhars have blocked all possible routes by which the republic might be penetrated: "We've locked all roads. One's welcome to come unarmed and on foot, and we greet guests of goodwill - but we stopped men who came in tanks. What does a president want with a tank in his own country?" Mr. Goghitidze evaluates an armed force in President Saakashvili's disposal at an approximate three thousand - a commando battalion, whose personnel approaches 1,500, rangers from several parts of Georgia, and Interior soldiers plus twelve T 52 tanks and several APCs.

    "We are defending our land and protecting our families. That's what makes us stronger," stressed the minister.

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