Adjarian chief Aslan Abashidze has again refused to disarm his home guard. According to Georgia's Rustavi-2 television, Abashidze made his position clear during a meeting Tuesday with Georgia Prime Minister Zurab Zhvaniya and Vano Merabishvili, secretary of Georgia's National Security Council. The Georgian authorities consider the formation of armed units in Adjaria illegal and have demanded that they be disarmed. In addition, Georgia has offered to pay USD 250 for every automatic weapon turned in. However, Abashidze takes the view that having a weapon is not against the law and offers an assurance of security. He said he would not bar the carrying of weapons in the autonomy until the general situation in Georgia stabilized.
The talks, held in Adjaria's Supreme Council (parliament) building in Batumi, lasted almost five hours. Summing up the result, the Georgian prime minister said he had not been able 'to reach agreement with Abashidze on anything.' Zhvaniya and Merabishvili were en route back to Tbilisi this morning.