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06 May 2004

OSCE: Georgia Showed "Political Maturity" in Ending Ajara Crisis

Chairman Passy welcomes peaceful resolution of situation

Georgia's success in peacefully resolving the crisis in the autonomous region of Ajara "has once again shown the world an example of political maturity and adherence to democratic standards," said Bulgarian Foreign Minister Solomon Passy -- chairman-in-office of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe -- May 6.

Passy commended the "constructive role" Russia played in resolving the crisis, which ended with the resignation of Ajaran leader Aslan Abashidze, and said he hopes the outcome will "stimulate fresh efforts" to resolve the conflicts in South Ossetia and Abkhazia as well.

Following is Passy's statement:

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Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe
6 May 2004


WASHINGTON D.C., 6 May 2004 -- The Chairman-in-Office of the OSCE, Bulgaria's Foreign Minister Solomon Passy, congratulated President Mikheil Saakashvili, the people of Georgia and the government on achieving a peaceful settlement of the situation in Ajara.

"I am truly delighted at the peaceful resolution of the crisis over the autonomous region of Ajara. Georgia has once again shown the world an example of political maturity and adherence to democratic standards," he said.

The head of Europe's main security watchdog, who was in Washington for meetings with senior US officials including Secretary of State Colin Powell, said that the Bulgarian Chairmanship would continue to assist vigorously in strengthening democratic institutions in Georgia for the benefit of all citizens.

"I now hope that, with the conclusion of this issue, the efforts by the Government of Georgia in the areas of conflict resolution and human rights will receive a vital boost," added the Chairman-in-Office.

"I am pleased to note the constructive role played by the Russian Federation, in particular by Igor Ivanov, Secretary of the Russian Security Council, in settling the crisis situation, which has ended with the resignation of the Ajaran leader, Aslan Abashidze."

Minister Passy has repeatedly stressed the importance of restoring by peaceful means the territorial integrity of Georgia as a crucial prerequisite for the country's democratization and prosperity, as well as for the stability of the southern Caucasus.

The Chairman-in-Office said he hoped the peaceful resolution of the crisis in Ajara would stimulate fresh efforts to resolve conflicts in South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

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(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)

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