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Georgian Police Investigate Blast Outside TV Station - 2003-12-04

Police in the former Soviet republic of Georgia are sifting through debris outside state television, hours after an explosion sparked fears of violence in the run-up to January's scheduled presidential and parliamentary elections. A U.S. delegation continued talks with Georgia's interim leadership Thursday in a bid to help the democratic process.

Georgia's prosecutor general, Nugzar Gabrichidze describes the blast at state television in the capital, Tbilisi, late Wednesday as an act of terror and says officials are investigating.

There were no injuries or casualties. And no one has claimed responsibility for the explosion, which blew out windows in the building but did not force the evening news broadcast off the air.

Georgian officials have warned of possible attempts to disrupt the upcoming electoral process, by forces loyal to ousted President Eduard Shevardnadze, who resigned last month amid massive anti-government protests.

A U.S. delegation continued talks with the interim government in Tbilisi aimed at assisting a peaceful democratic transition. U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Lynn Pascoe says the United States is ready to give Georgia financial support to hold the elections, but he says the choice of parties or candidates is up to the Georgian people.