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Georgia: President Skipping Moscow Anniversary

Tbilisi, 4 September 1997 (RFE/RL) - Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze has canceled a visit to Russia for this weekend's Moscow anniversary celebrations, signaling his dissatisfaction with Russian officials.

Shevardnadze's press secretary Vakhtang Abashidze, in announcing the decision today, attributed it to the president's heavy workload and a number of other circumstances. Abashidze made clear that those circumstances include a diplomatic standoff over tension on the Russian-Georgian border.

As a result of Russia's recent decision to stop alcohol imports, hundreds of trucks carrying alcohol to Russia via Georgia have been stuck at the border.

Russian news agencies say Georgia's official delegation to Moscow's anniversary celebrations will now consist of Tbilisi Mayor Badri Shoshitaishvili, Georgian ambassador to Moscow Vazha Lordkipanidze and ballet star Nina.