ITAR-TASS News Agency
January 13, 2005 Thursday 3:10 PM Eastern Time
Expelled population should be able to participate in Abkhaz polls
By Eka Mekhuzla
Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili said on Thursday that the
elections in Abkhazia would be considered legitimate only after all
the population that had been expelled from the autonomous province
takes part in them.
“When the Georgians, Abkhazians, Armenians, Russians, Greeks,
Estonians and many others who were forced to leave Abkhazia would
return there and take part in the elections, these polls will be
considered legitimate,” Saakashvili, who is staying at the Bakuriani
Alpine Skiing resort, said.
Asked whether he is going to congratulate Sergei Bagapsh on his
victory in the Abkhazian election, Saakashvili replied, “We are going
to congratulate ourselves when Georgia restores its territorial
The Georgian authorities claim that two thirds of the autonomous
republic’s population were forced to flee Abkhazia during the
1992-1993 arms conflict.