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    ADZHAR PRESIDENT REFUSES TO DISARM PARA-MILITARY UNITS IN HIS AUTONOMY

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    TBILISI, April 13 (RIA Novosti) -Aslan Abashidze, the head of the Adzharia autonomy integrated in Georgia, refused disarming its newly-formed para-military units when meeting for talks with Georgia's Prime Minister Zurab Zhvaniaya and National Security Council Secretary Vano Merabishvili.

    Zurab Zhvaniya paid a visit to Batumi on instructions from President Mikhail Saakashvili for discussing the autonomy's disarmament and division of competences between the centre and the province.

    Following five-hour long talks in the building of Adzharia's Supreme Soviet in Batumi, Zhvaniya and Merabishvili returned to Tbilisi.

    "Unfortunately, it was a vain dialogue lacking solution for the main issue-the disarmament of illegal armed units. Abashidze declared he would not even touch upon the issue and this was a major complication," Zhvaniaya told reporters before his departure from Batumi. The prime minister reported that the Georgian leadership would consider further action.

    For his part, Georgian Security Council Secretary Merabishvili declared following talks with the Adzhar leader that there was no alternative to disarmament and the central government would take measures stipulated for by law in such cases." According to Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili's statement made on April 9, the Adzhar leader has recently made illicit arms purchases to the tune of $50 million. "Abashidze's arsenal contains T-72 tanks, several GRAD multiple-launch rocket artillery systems, several infantry combat vehicles and helicopters. I am ready to let him preserve his body-guards but it is inadmissible to have armed units on the territory of Georgia. Either Aslan Abashidze will come to his senses and disarm or I shall disband Adzharia's Supreme Soviet and declare new elections," said President Saakashvilui.

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