Tbilisi calls on Russia and U.S. to pressure Adzharia's leader

Georgian Prime Minister Zurab Zhvania called on Moscow and Washington to put pressure on Aslan Abashidze, the leader of Adzharia (an autonomous region in Georgia).

"We will not let Abashidze provoke an armed conflict and a military solution to the problem, but our friends in Washington and Moscow must realize that it is necessary to increase the political and economic pressure on Abashidze," Mr. Zhvania told RIA Novosti.

According to him, such pressure is necessary to make Mr. Abashidze "agree to a compromise and allow the principles of democracy to be translated into reality on Adzharia's territory."

Making a speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, Mr. Zhvania said that the problem of Adzharia is very "tense," and Mr. Abashidze is a "headache" for Georgia's leadership.

Mr. Zhvania called Mr. Abashidze "part of the regime" of former Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze.

According to Mr. Zhvania, it was earlier proposed that Mr. Abashidze disarm and respect human rights in his republic in exchange for allowing him to remain in his post until the end of his term. "But Abashidze did not even discuss this question," the Georgian prime minister said.

Mr. Zhvania and Georgia's minister of energy and defense are on a visit to the United States. During the course of their visit, meetings with the U.S. State Department and Congress are planned.

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