Saturday 24th of August 2019, 18:42 CET
Abashidze: "armed aggression" against Adjar
February 26, 2004
RFE/RL Transcaucasia

Posted by HW on August 24, 2019

"Armed aggression"
Adjar Supreme Council Chairman Aslan Abashidze said in Batumi on 25 February that the central Georgian government is planning "armed aggression" against his autonomous republic, Caucasus Press reported on 26 February. Abashidze claimed that 500 Georgian service personnel who graduated from the U.S.-funded Train and Equip Program are on standby to be deployed to Adjaria, together with nine tanks and 23 armored personnel carriers.

Troops
Adjaria's permanent representative in Tbilisi, Hamlet Chipashvili, said on 25 February that sending troops to Adjaria would be "a great mistake," Caucasus Press reported. Chipashvili said the tensions between Abashidze and the central government must be resolved peacefully. Georgian National Security Council Secretary Vano Merabishvili denied that troops will be sent to Adjaria, while Deputy State Security Minister Amiran Meskheli told the independent television station Rustavi-2 that while no such deployment is planned at present, "we can send troops to any part of the country if necessary."

Student's arrest
Chipashvili also denounced on 25 February the arrest in Tbilisi the previous day on charges of illegal weapons possession of two students from Adjaria, Merab Mikeladze and Lasha Chakvadze, Georgian media reported. A group of Georgian parliament deputies has similarly dismissed the charges against the two as absurd and called on the president, parliament speaker, interior minister, and prosecutor-general to secure the immediate release of the two men, Caucasus Press reported.

Kmara!
But members of the Georgian student movement Kmara! (Enough!), which is campaigning for Abashidze's ouster, claim that Mikeladze and Chakvadze participated in dispersing opposition meetings in Batumi organized by Kmara!. Mikeladze has declared a hunger strike, according to Caucasus Press on 26 February.
 
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