Abkhazia objects to Ukraine's inclusion in UN Mediation Group...

The Foreign Ministry of the unrecognized Republic of Abkhazia has issued a statement protesting against Ukraine's incorporation into the semi-formal group of states designated as Friends of the UN Secretary-General, which is charged with mediating a solution to the Abkhaz conflict, Caucasus Press reported on 4 January. The Abkhaz statement said the inclusion of Ukraine in the grouping, which also comprises the U.S., France, the U.K., Germany, and Russia, constitutes a violation of the agreement reached earlier in Geneva on the format for settlement talks. Following Ukraine's accession to the group in December, Ukrainian and Russian Foreign Ministry officials met in Kyiv to discuss Ukraine's possible participation in the CIS peacekeeping force in Georgia. Ukraine had first volunteered to send peacekeepers to Georgia two years ago (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 14 July 1997). LF

Tamaz Nadareishvili, chairman of the Abkhaz parliament in exile which comprises the ethnic Georgian deputies to the Abkhaz legislature elected in 1991, told Caucasus Press on 5 January that the parliament will send a delegation to Ukraine and Azerbaijan next month to discuss the possible deployment of Ukrainian and Azerbaijani peacekeeping forces along the internal border between Abkhazia and the rest of Georgia. Nadareishvili called for the inclusion of Azerbaijan as well as Ukraine in the Friends of the UN Secretary-General group. LF

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