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    MOSCOW, March 17, 2004. (RIA Novosti) -- Secretary of the Russian Security Council Igor Ivanov asked Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili to receive Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov and discuss with him the situation around Adzharia, reported the press service of the Russian Security Council.

    On the instruction of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Mr. Ivanov held a telephone conversation with Mikhail Saakashvili in connection with the situation around Adzharia, the Russian Security Council reported.

    "Igor Ivanov pointed out that the efforts of the Moscow Mayor in the interests of establishing a dialogue between Tbilisi and Batumi are supported by the Russian leadership and asked the Georgian President to receive Mr. Luzhkov for discussing this issue," the press service reported.

    "Mr. Saakashvili agreed," the Security Council said.

    At the same time, the Georgian President reported that he is sending to Moscow Georgian Security Council Secretary Vano Merabishvili to consider the entire complex of the Russian-Georgian relations as well as the situation around Adzharia, the Russian Security Council emphasized.

    Mr. Ivanov confirmed Russia's respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia. He also pointed out that "the problems, which arose between Tbilisi and Batumi, can and should be settled by political means, by way of a constructive dialogue," the press service reported.

    In his turn, Mr. Saakashvili pointed to a special role Russia can play in conditions of confrontation between Tbilisi and Batumi, the press service of the Russian Security Council said.

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