Georgia to lift emergency rule on Nov 16

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TBILISI, Nov 14 (Reuters) Georgia will lift its state of emergency on November 16, Parliament Speaker Nino Burjanadze said today.

The United States and European Union had told Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili to end the emergency rule he imposed last Wednesday after police crushed street protests and raided an opposition television station.

''I am authorised to declare on behalf of the Georgian government that emergency rule will be lifted on November 16 on all the country's territory,'' Burjanadze told a news briefing.

Pro-Western Saakashvili, who advocates Georgia's membership in NATO and the European Union, is facing the worst political crisis since a bloodless revolution propelled him to power in 2003.

Facing a barrage of Western complaints that he was cracking down on democratic freedoms, Saakashvili last week set a snap presidential election for January 5 in a move aimed at defusing the tension with the opposition.

He had accused giant northern neighbour Russia of fomenting unrest in his Caucasus nation of 5 million where two rebel pro-Moscow regions have proclaimed independence.

REUTERS ARB BD1551

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