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    USA EXPRESSES CONCERN OVER SITUATION AROUND ADZHARIA

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    TBILISI, March 17, 2004. (RIA Novosti) - The United States is concerned about the situation that has arisen around Adzharia, US Ambassador to Georgia Richard Miles told reporters in Poti (western Georgia).

    I do not have concrete recipes for finding a way out of the present situation. I think that the Georgian President and Aslan Abashidze (the head of the Adzharian Autonomous Republic) have themselves to draw up an appropriate plan, the ambassador said.

    We [USA] are very much concerned about the existing situation and regard it as abnormal, Richard Miles added. But the conflict must be settled peacefully, concluded the American ambassador.

    Richard Miles arrived in Poti to meet with representatives of the Georgian leadership, in particular with Prime Minister Zurab Zhvania who heads the Anti-Crisis Center for Adzharia.

    On Wednesday, at a session of the Cabinet of Ministers in Poti, the government intends to work out a concrete scheme of transferring wages and pensions for the inhabitants of Adzharia in which economic sanctions have been introduced since March 15 in accordance with the decree signed by President Saakashvili.

    "We face a serious dilemma. On the one hand, there are local authorities which totally control all finances in Adzharia but, on the other hand, there is a suffering population of Georgia in the territory of the autonomous republic," the Prime Minister of Georgia said.

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