Georgia

Abkhazia: Press release on Russian-Georgian consultations

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MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION
DAILY NEWS BULLETIN 10.02.2003
Unofficial translation from Russian
319-08-02-2003

On February 6-7 a round of Russian-Georgian consultations was held in Moscow on the question of a further stay in the zone of the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict of the CIS Collective Peacekeeping Forces (CPKF).

Taking part in the consultations from the Russian side was Valery Loshchinin, special representative of the Russian President for a Georgian-Abkhaz settlement, State Secretary and First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, and those attending from the Georgian side were M. D. Kakabadze, Minister at Large, and M. G. Antadze, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs.

In the course of the consultations the participants expressed a common interest in continuing the process of a peaceful settlement of the conflict in Abkhazia, Georgia, including the CIS peacekeeping operation in the conflict zone.

In this context it was noted that the question of extending the CPKF's mandate should be solved at the earliest possible date no later than February 15, as was agreed in the course of the recent meeting of the Commonwealth's Heads of State in Kyiv on January 29.

In addition, a substantive discussion took place with regard to the Georgian side's concerns over the opening of a Sochi-Sukhumi-Sochi railway service and over the granting to Abkhazia's residents of Russian citizenship. Appropriate explanations were given by the Russian side. In particular, it was confirmed that the resumption of the railway service is a purely commercial project and pursues humanitarian aims in the first place. As to the citizenship, these matters are being considered in strict accordance with Russian legislation.

The question of a resumption of the railway service on the Vesyoloye-Samtradia-Tbilisi route was also touched on. This would, the Georgian representatives noted, be possible, but with synchronization with the process of a gradual, worthy and safe return of refugees and displaced persons to their places of permanent residence, above all to the Galsky district within its old boundaries.

The theme of continuing talks on military issues was raised. The Russian side suggested that the eighth round of these talks should be held in Moscow on February 17-19.

The sides will continue consultations on the matters touched upon.

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=A9 Publication of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation.