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    GRYZLOV PROPOSES TO INTENSIFY NEGOTIATIONS ON ADZHARIA

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    MOSCOW, March 16, 2004. (RIA Novosti) -- State Duma (the lower house of parliament) Speaker Boris Gryzlov supports the intensification of negotiations by members of parliament and representatives of other structures to solve "the difficult issues" of relations between the leaders of Georgia and Adzharia (an autonomous region in Georgia).

    "I think we should use everything possible to render the necessary assistance to Georgia and Adzharia to solve the conflict that has been developing for several days," Mr. Gryzlov told journalists on Tuesday.

    He explained that the contacts could be made during a visit of a delegation of deputies to Georgia. He also said that Mayor Yuri Luzhkov of Moscow would hold consultations on Tuesday with the leaders of Georgia and Abkhazia.

    The chairman of the State Duma Committee on International Affairs, Konstantin Kosachev, reported, "permanent contacts are being maintained with Adzharian and Georgian colleagues."

    "We have our own channel, and we communicate every hour with the leaders of Adzharia," Mr. Kosachev pointed out. "Now the most important things is not to make live shields on the Georgian-Adzharian border."

    Mr. Kosachev said that Moscow is concerned over the tension in the region. "We are convinced that Russia can and should contribute to the resolution of the conflict, without blood shed and by political means only," Mr. Kosachev stressed.

    He expressed hope that neither Tbilisi nor Batumi will resort to military action and that the conflict will remain within the framework of the negotiation process.

    This will allow the preservation of the territorial integrity of Georgia, the deputy pointed out. "Moscow is not interested in dividing Georgia into feudal principalities," he said.

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