A senior US official is leaving for Georgia to express US
concern about the state of emergency in the country, local press
reported on Friday.
Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Matthew J. Bryza was quoted
as saying that he will seek assurances from President Mikhail
Saakashvili and other government officials in meetings during the
weekend that Georgia will guarantee free and fair elections.
"We urge the government, the president and the parliament of
Georgia to lift the state of emergency, restore all media broadcast
and have a real and serious discussion with the opposition about
how to chart a way forward and strengthen Georgia's democratic
institutions," Bryza said.
Bryza said he would also meet with members of the opposition who
have called for Saakashvili's removal and will call on them to
ensure a peaceful run-up to elections.
Saakashvili declared on Wednesday a state of emergency in the
capital Tbilisi "to prevent mass disturbances" and signed the
relevant decree. He also announced that Georgia will antedate its
presidential elections from autumn to the beginning of next
Georgian presidential elections will be held on January 5, 2008,
(Xinhua News Agency November 10, 2007)