Russia dismisses Georgian leadership action as ''farce''

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Moscow, Nov 6 (UNI) Expressing concern over the recent developments in the former Soviet republic of Georgia, Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov today dubbed the action taken by the Georgian leadership during the current opposition protests in the capital Tbilisi as ''farce''.

''We are concerned about what is happening in Georgia,'' Mr Lavrov said here today.

Commenting on Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili's statement that Russian tycoons were behind the escalation of the situation in the country, he said, ''Slapstick shows, which accompany the actions of the Georgian authorities, have become quite apparent for everyone today.'' Mr Saakashvili had said the rallies in Tbilisi were linked to Russian oligarchs seeking to destabilise the situation in Georgia ahead of Russian parliamentary elections due on December 2.

Mr Lavrov said Russia was concerned about the developments in Georgia, which was facing its worst crisis since the 2003 ''rose revolution'' that brought Mr Saakashvili to power.

Georgian people deserved better and they could rely on Russia's support, he said.

The opposition that has been rallying in front of parliament's building in Tbilisi wants Mr Saakashvili to resign, early parliamentary elections to be held in spring 2008, changes to election procedures, and release of political prisoners.

In his first public appearance since the protests started last Friday, the president rejected opposition demands, reaffirmed his plans to run for a second presidential term and blamed Russia for the unrest in Georgia.


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