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11/30/03- GEORGIA'S NEW COURSE - 2003-12-01

Georgia's president Eduard Shevardnadze resigned in the wake of protests following the November 2nd parliamentary elections. Allegations of voting fraud sent thousands of demonstrators into the streets of the former Soviet republic. President Shevardnadze's decision to resign brought a peaceful resolution to the crisis.

Thanks to President Shevardnadze, Georgia came through civil war and political violence to become a valued part of the international community. And earlier, as foreign minister of the Soviet Union, Mr. Shevardnadze played a key role in improving relations with the West and thereby helped end the Cold War.

Interim president Nino Burjanadze has promised to hold new elections in Georgia within forty-five days:

"I will do my best to create a real democratic environment in the country. I will do my best to have peace and stability in the country. Now, it's very important to have rule of law in the streets."

The U.S. has long-supported democratic reforms in Georgia. During the recent elections, the U.S. helped to train election workers in hopes of a free and fair election process. The results were deeply disappointing. That is why Georgians need to hold new elections. And the U.S. once again calls on all parties to work to make the elections free and fair.