Acting President of Georgia Nino Burdjanadze and President of the Autonomous Republic of Adzharia Aslan Abashidze discussed all the problems that exist between the autonomy and the central government of Georgia at their recent meeting. This was announced by Mrs Burdjanadze in an interview on Adzharian television. She stressed that she had had no illusions about these talks and had not expected all the problems to be solved in the course of one meeting. However, she said that they had agreed that talks should continue. Georgian Interior Minister Zurab Zhvaniya will travel to Batumi in the near future and then Mrs Burdjanadze will meet the Adzharian leader once again.
The Georgian president claimed there has been a barrier of mistrust between the autonomous republic and the central government for many years but she said this meeting was notable in that they had managed to discuss quite openly all the problems that exist, including questions surrounding the presidential elections. New elections have been scheduled for January 4 although Adzharia has announced that it does not intend to participate. Mrs Burdjanadze had hoped to persuade Mr Abashidze to change his position on the elections. It is well known that Mr Abashidze is strongly opposed to Mikhail Saakashvili, one of the leading candidates for the Georgian presidency.
Mrs Burdjanadze spoke to journalists about her disappointment at the airport while returning to Tbilisi. She mentioned that the date of the next parliamentary elections has still not been set but, in her opinion, the most important thing is that there is a dialogue and both sides intend to continue negotiations.