Georgia to lift martial law

September 3rd, 2008 - 3:30 am ICT by IANS  

Moscow/Tbilisi, Sep 3 (DPA) Georgia’s government will soon lift martial law, a senior official said Tuesday.The temporary regulations giving President Mikheil Saakashvili near-total authority for wartime command in the former Soviet republic will be cancelled Wednesday, said David Bakradze, speaker of the Georgian parliament.

The repeal is necessary to allow Georgia’s suffering economy to return to a more normal footing and “for a more normal rhythm of life,” Bakradze told the Interfax news agency.

on Aug 9, Georgia’s parliament approved martial law at Saakashvili’s request.

The end to martial law would, among other changes, make possible public discussion within Georgia of the war, and investigation into its causes.

Saakashvili throughout hostilities with Russia has blamed Moscow for the South Ossetia conflict, saying he had no choice to launch an offensive on the renegade district to forestall a Russian invasion.

Saakashvili’s political opponents have avoided criticising him as long as the war was in progress, his main rival former Prime Minister Nino Bourdjanadze declaring shortly after fighting ended “with Russian tanks only a few dozen kilometres from Tbilisi, now is not the time for recriminations”.

Tension has slowly fallen in the region since the Aug 16 end to fighting, but continued Russian troop presence in Georgian territory has sparked international criticism.

The Kremlin has said the deployments are within the terms of a ceasefire agreement allowing Russia to take “certain security measures” outside the borders of South Ossetia and Georgia’s second rebel province Abkhazia.

NATO earlier this month upped the number of warships in the Black Sea to a reported eighteen vessels - a record for a NATO naval deployment in the region.

The NATO warship count had fallen to five vessels by Tuesday, Russian military officials speaking in Moscow said.

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