Georgia acknowledges importance of Russian ties

Relations with Russia are a top Georgian priority, Zurab Zhvaniya declared Thursday in a speech to the Georgian legislature. The minister, however, especially stressed that Georgia will not change its foreign policy orientation. Russia, in Zhvaniya's view, is interested in Georgia's stability and territorial integrity. No less important, the minister said, is working out normal relations with the Adzhar Autonomous Republic. 'We must take into account all the interests of Adzharia,' he asserted.

Aslan Abashidze, the Adzhar head of state, has declared a state of emergency in the republic. Relations between the center and the autonomy have been halted pending the legitimization of the Georgian government. Abashidze considers the events of last week - the so-called 'velvet revolution of roses' - a coup.