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Adjar Leader Defying Georgian Government


http://gdb.rferl.org/D4DD9297-CE72-4E94-901B-05559E5490E4_w203.jpg --> http://gdb.rferl.org/D4DD9297-CE72-4E94-901B-05559E5490E4_mw800_mh600.jpg Aslan Abashidze 4 May 2004 -- In Georgia's rebellious region of Adjaria today, regional leader Aslan Abashidze strengthened his posture of defiance against central government rule.

Abashidze has declared a state of emergency and curfew in the region, rejecting the Georgian government's deadline of 12 May for him to reform.

He said on local television today that what he called his "humane approach" to unrest in Adjaria failed to bring the desired results. Hereafter, he said, he will treat "with the utmost severity" any acts of opposition in Adjaria.

Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili has threatened to dissolve the local institutions in Adjaria and order new elections if Adjaria fails to disarm militias and recognize Georgian authority.

Militias in Adjaria blasted bridges between the region and Georgia proper on 2 May, saying they feared that government forces were preparing to invade.

(Reuters/AFP)
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