In his traditional Monday radio broadcast on 24 January, Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze characterized as "not insignificant" the expression of support for him in the 9 April elections by Abkhaz Premier Vyacheslav Tsugba. Shevardnadze said Tsugba had told him during a face to face meeting the previous week that the Abkhaz people believe Shevardnadze's international authority can help expedite a solution of the conflict between the breakaway republic and the central Georgian government.
But there is a further aspect to the Abkhaz expression of support for Shevardnadze. Had the incumbent president chosen not to seek a second term, one of the likely contesters for the presidency would have been the chairman of the Abkhaz parliament in exile, Tamaz Nadareishvili. Nadareishvili is spearheading a campaign to have the Abkhaz leadership indicted for war crimes and genocide, and does not rule out the use of military force to bring Abkhazia back under Georgia's jurisdiction. (Liz Fuller)
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