The New Year celebrations are over in Russia, and journalists are once again plunged into the everyday problems of the domestic and international politics. All problems of the past year are still pressing in the new year: the problems of Iraq, the conflict between Arabs and Israelis, the conflict around the North Korean nuclear program and certainly the Georgia-Abkhazia conflict.
Georgia became the initiator of a new wave of tension in the region. If problems connected with the Georgia-Abkhazia conflict are not settled, Russia may further face lots of problems. This was declared yesterday by Georgia’s Foreign Minister Irakly Menagarishvili when he commented upon aggravation of the conflict. At the same time, the Georgian Minister said that he preferred to avoid making harsh statements in Russia’s address until the UN Security Council held its session at the end of January. The UN will gather at the session to seek solutions for settlement of the Georgia-Abkhazia conflict.
We would like to mention that Abkhazian refugees have blocked the bridge over the Inguri River. The people protest against recommencement of railway communication between Russia and Abkhazia and against granting Russian citizenship to Abkhazians. The refugees demand that the mandate of Russian peacemaking troops in the conflict zone must be stopped.
Russian politicians have made no comments upon the situation, as the parliament is in recession till January 13; that is why the Ministry for Internal Affairs interfered into the situation as it must settle problems of this kind.
Today the Russian First Deputy Foreign Minister, Presidential envoy for settlement of the Georgia-Abkhazia conflict, Valery Loshchinin arrived in Sukhumi (the capital of the unrecognized republic of Abkhazia). Russian news agency RIA Novosti learnt the information from Abkhazia’s Foreign Ministry on Thursday. The source informs, Valery Loshchinin will meet with Abkhazia Prime Minister Gennady Gagulia, Vice-premier Valery Arshba and Foreign Minister of Abkhazia Sergey Shamba. The parties are expected to discuss prospects of the Georgia-Abkhazia conflict settlement. Abkhazia Foreign Ministry informs: “Sukhumi lays down a provisional condition for recommencement of negotiations on the problem: it demands that all Georgian troops must be withdrawn from the Kodorsky Gorge.”
Valery Loshchinin will offer the Abkhazia leadership to negotiate calling of a new meeting between Georgian and Abkhazian representatives dedicated to trust measures, this meeting can be called Yalta-2. Russia’s Foreign Ministry informs: “Moscow believes that Georgia’s capital, Tbilisi, is interested in recommencement of this dialogue.”
Dmitry Chirkin PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Maria Gousseva
Read the original in Russian: http://world.pravda.ru/world/2003/5/73/208/5282_Abhazia.html
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