US says Georgia to lift emergency rule in 3 days

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TBILISI, Nov 13 (Reuters) The top US emissary to the crisis-torn Caucasus nation of Georgia said today the country would lift a state of emergency in two or three days.

Matthew Bryza, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs, said the speaker of the Georgian parliament, Nino Burjanadze, had told him that the state of emergency would be lifted soon.

''It seems from my conversation with the speaker that the state of emergency will be lifted in two or three days. I think on the 16th,'' he told reporters.

Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili imposed a state of emergency -- which bans independent media and public meetings -- after opposition street protests against his rule last week.

The United States, NATO and European Union nations have called for Saakashvili to lift the state of emergency.

Saakashvili claimed Russia had been manipulating the opposition to try to stir unrest. Moscow denied any involvement, saying Saakashvili was seeking to deflect attention away from his own failings.

Bryza cast doubt on Saakashvili claims, saying that he would be very surprised if there had been a real threat from Russia to destabilise Georgia.

REUTERS SKB HT2007

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