Sunday, September 30, 2007


President Mikhail Saakashvili of Georgia has for the first time spoken about allegations levelled at him by his former defence minister.
Irakli Okruashvili accused Mr Saakashvili of leading a corrupt government and ordering the murder of political opponents.
Mr Saakashvili branded the allegations as "unpardonable lies".
He came to power in 2004 with promises to fight corruption and develop genuine democracy in Georgia.
Mr Saakashvili returned from New York, where he had delivered at speech at the United Nations, to confront the allegations levelled at him by Mr Okruashvili.
"Okruashvili and everybody else knows that all the things he said about me and about the country's leadership are unpardonable lies," Mr Saakashvili said.
He insisted that one of the main principles of his life was the fight against corruption.
Opposition protests
After the former defence minister made his accusations he was arrested on charges of corruption.

Toughest challenge for Georgian leader

Mr Saakashvili defended the move, saying anyone who broke the law would get what they deserved.
But the former minister's allies insist his arrest was intended to silence a powerful opponent.
On Friday, several thousand people protested against the arrest, and against President Saakashvili's government.
On Saturday a number of leading opposition parties have united on Saturday to form a movement called the Salvation Front.
It is aimed at creating what they describe as an electoral revolution in Georgia to oust Mr Saakashvili, who they accuse of being authoritarian.
But the Georgian authorities insist this is not a threat because peaceful protests are normal in any democratic country.
Mr Saakashvili was swept to power after the "Rose revolution" - the massive street demonstrations which led to the collapse of President's Eduard Shevardnadze's regime in 2003.



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