At the initiative of President Eduard Shevardnadze, the Georgian Parliament established yesterday an all-party special committee to conduct a dialogue with "Zviadists" — diehard supporters of the late president Zviad Gamsakhurdia. Former Prime Minister Otar Patsatsia, now a parliament deputy, heads the committee; and the Parliament’s Vice-Chairman Vahtang Kolbaia is mandated to coordinate the effort. The offer of political dialogue is limited to those Zviadists who voluntarily hand over their weapons and who were not involved in "grave crimes" during the period of turmoil in Georgia.
Some Zviadists are hiding in remote areas of the Western Georgian region Mingrelia, according to Kolbaia (whose surname indicates a Mingrelian background), and even in the adjacent Abkhazia. In recent days, some thirty Zviadists have voluntarily surrendered to the authorities in Mingrelia, handing over some fifty firearms. They were allowed to return to their homes after questioning, as were the Zviadist abductors of UN military observers last month. (Georgian radio and TV, cited by Russian agencies, March 9)
Zviadists were responsible also for carrying out the assassination attempt against Shevardnadze last month. In the wake of that attempt, the president has launched a political dialogue with remaining supporters of his former rival. Shevardnadze reiterated on radio yesterday that "the traces of the assassination attempt are lost in Russia." (Radio Tbilisi, March 9)
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