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Russian Duma Concerned Over Adjaria

28 April 2004 -- Russia's State Duma today expressed its "deep concern" about the deterioration of ties between Georgia and its Autonomous Republic of Adjaria.

In an appeal to their Georgian counterparts, members of Russia's lower house of parliament said that "there are all reasons to believe that Georgia is planning to resort to force" to settle its dispute with Adjaria.

The Russian lawmakers also urged the Georgian parliament to do its utmost to avert military confrontation with Adjaria.

Adjaria has mobilized its reservists amid fears that the Georgian government might use a planned military exercise later this week to forcibly topple the regional leadership. Tbilisi denies the accusations, saying it is committed to finding a peaceful solution to its dispute with Adjaria.

Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, who has vowed to restore economic and political control over Adjaria, yesterday threatened Abashidze with arrest if he refuses to comply with his orders.

(ITAR-TASS/Civil Georgia)