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Georgia: Russia, EU, U.S. Support Opposition Following Shevardnadze Resignation

Moscow, 24 November 2003 (RFE/RL) -- Russia, the United States, and the European Union are voicing support for Georgia, following the resignation of President Eduard Shevardnadze (pictured) after weeks of street protests. Russian Federation Council Chairman Sergei Mironov today praised the fact that the resignation occurred without bloodshed and in accordance with the constitution.

Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov -- who had met with Shevardnadze and other Georgian leaders during the crisis -- said he accepts any decision made by Georgia's politicians.

In a statement, the European Commission today welcomed the peaceful end to the crisis, and said it is now "essential" that Georgia hold democratic elections in line with international norms.

German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer today said irregularities in a 2 November parliamentary poll that resulted in almost daily street protests had "created a democratic deficit." Fischer called Shevardnadze's resignation "correct and responsible."

Yesterday, the U.S. State Department said the United States is ready to support interim President Nino Burdjanadze in holding free and fair parliamentary elections.