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Police Refuse To Obey PM In Abkhazia

17 November 2004 -- Police commanders in Georgia's unrecognized republic of Abkhazia today announced their refusal to obey Abkhaz government orders.

The statement -- signed by 50 leaders of regional police forces -- comes as the republic is in a crisis over a still-unresolved presidential election in October.

The statement blames Abkhaz Prime Minister Nodar Khashba for what it calls "chaos and disorder" and says police are announcing "the impossibility of further obeying such a government."

Abkhaz election officials have pronounced opposition candidate Sergei Bagapsh the winner of the 3 October presidential poll. But the outgoing administration has ignored the ruling, saying it was fraudulent.

Georgian officials say the ballot was illegitimate because the province is part of that country despite Abkhazia's unilateral declaration of independence and de facto autonomy following a war in the early 1990s.