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    GEORGIAN PRESIDENT SAAKASHVILI TO MEET HEAD OF ADZHARIA ABASHIDZE IN BATUMI

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    TBILISI, MARCH 18, 2004. (RIA NOVOSTI). Georgian president Mikhail Saakashvili is expected to meet head of Adzharia (the autonomous republic of Georgia) Aslan Abashidze on Thursday in Batumi.

    Agreement on this meeting was reached on Wednesday during the talks in Batumi between chairman of the Georgian parliament Nino Burdzhanadze and head of Adzharia.

    The conflict between Batumi and Tbilisi began on March 14 when the authorities of Adzharia did not let Saakashvili enter the territory of the autonomy. After this, the official Tbilisi imposed economic sanctions on Adzharia - all the banking accounts were blocked and the Batumi port closed, while troops have moved closer to the border with the autonomy.

    Burdzhanadze told journalists after her meeting with Abashidze that the leader of the autonomy supported the normal and just elections to be held on March 28.

    According to her, he also promised to cancel the state of emergency regime in the region if the Georgian military hardware and the power structures' personnel will move back on the other side of the administrative border and return to the place of their permanent dislocation.

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