Russia is guarantor of stability – Adzharian leader

ITAR-TASS News Agency
May 4, 2004 Tuesday

Russia is guarantor of stability – Adzharian leader


Adzharian leader Aslan Abashidze has turned down the ultimatum of
Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili, who wants Adzharia to start
disarming illegal units within ten days.

“The ultimatum cannot solve our problems, because realities do not
coincide with wishes of the center,” Abashidze told Itar-Tass by
telephone. “I do not need the ultimatum. I know what to do in the
autonomous republic.”

“Batumi still wants dialog despite ongoing provocations of Tbilisi.
There are only a few matters unacceptable for us, and we are ready to
resolve the rest of problems,” Abashidze said.

The state of emergency in Adzharia “will be cancelled as soon as the
mutual understanding is reached,” Abashidze said. “Like it or not,
Russia will be a guarantor of stability by the Moscow and Kars
treaties in case of destabilization, and Tbilisi must be aware of

An open-ended Kars treaty on friendship between Turkey, on one side,
and Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan, on the other side, was signed
with the participation of Russia in 1921. The treaty says that Turkey
drops its claims to Adzharia, which shall return to Georgia as an
autonomous region on two conditions. The first condition is that
Georgia shall provide for full cultural, religious and national
autonomy of Adzharia, up to the Adzharian right to adopt laws. The
second condition is that Georgia shall provide for free transit via
the Batumi port.

As for the Tuesday episode in Batumi, Abashidze said, the student
protest “was planned in Tbilisi, and the young people were
aggressive.” “Problems were inevitable against the background of the
state of emergency and the curfew. We would not have allowed any
incidents if we could. The only thing we want is peace,” Abashidze

Students had a rally in Batumi on Tuesday to demand resignation of
the Adzharian authorities. The police used water guns and clubs
against the students, who failed to meet the state of emergency
requirements. There is information nine to 13 people were hurt.

Abashidze said earlier on Tuesday that he would not seek political
asylum abroad. “I am not the kind of a man who runs away,” Abashidze
said on the Ekho Moskvy Radio.