Georgia

Georgian-Russian meetings continue in Moscow

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A Georgian parliament delegation headed by speaker Nino Burdjanadze met in Moscow on 22 January with Russian State Duma speaker Gennadii Seleznev, his first deputy Lyubov Sliska, and with Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, Russian news agencies and Caucasus Press reported. Burdjanadze again said that Georgia would agree to an extension of the mandate of the Russian peacekeeping force deployed under the CIS aegis in the Abkhaz conflict zone only if Russia halts the recently resumed commuter-train service between Sochi and Sukhum and the granting of Russian citizenship to residents of Abkhazia. Burdjanadze acknowledged that the peacekeepers' withdrawal could precipitate a new conflict, according to ITAR-TASS. Seleznev, for his part, warned that it would be "irresponsible" to withdraw the contingent as it provides security for the unarmed UN Observer Mission. Ivanov characterized bilateral relations as unsatisfactory but stressed that an improvement is contingent in the first instance on Georgia's commitment to the fight against terrorism. Meanwhile, a Georgian National Security Council meeting to discuss Russia's actions in Abkhazia, originally scheduled for 18 January but postponed until 22 January, has again been put off until a later date, Caucasus Press reported. LF
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