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Georgia's Parliamentary Head In Adjaria For Talks

Batumi, Georgia; 17 March 2004 (RFE/RL) -- The speaker of Georgia's parliament, Nino Burjanadze, has arrived in the Adjar capital Batumi for talks on easing tension between Georgia and its autonomous province Adjaria.

Burjanadze is due to meet with Adjar leader Aslan Abashidze to discuss Georgia's demands for the Black Sea province to accept central Georgian government control ahead of Georgia's 28 March parliamentary elections.

Burjanadze said before the talks started that she also wants to discuss preparations for a visit by Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, who was blocked from entering Adjaria on 14 March. She said the president "must have a right to move about throughout Georgian territory."

In Moscow, the head of Georgia's Security Council, Vano Merabishvili, is due to address the dispute when he meets with Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Security Council Secretary Igor Ivanov.

The latest talks come as Georgia is enforcing an economic blockade on Adjaria.