Georgia

UN Envoy meets with Abkhaz Premier, Russia's Abkhaz mediator

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Heidi Tagliavini, who is the UN Secretary-General's special envoy for the Abkhaz conflict, met in Sukhum on 10 January with Abkhaz Prime Minister Gennadii Gagulia and with Russian First Deputy Foreign Minister Valerii Loshchinin, who is Russian President Vladimir Putin's special envoy for Abkhazia, Caucasus Press reported. Tagliavini discussed with Gagulia scheduling meetings of the Coordinating Council -- which was set up under UN auspices in 1997 to discuss issues related to the settlement of the Abkhaz conflict -- and of the so-called "Friends of the UN Secretary-General" group of five countries that seeks to promote a settlement. She also raised the possibility of a conference on confidence-building measures. The UN Security Council is to discuss the Abkhaz situation on 31 January. Foreign Minister Sergei Shamba said on 10 January that the Abkhaz leadership wants Loshchinin to explain its position to that session. LF
GEORGIAN DISPLACED PERSONS DEMAND WITHDRAWAL OF CIS PEACEKEEPERS FROM ABKHAZ CONFLICT ZONE

The Georgian displaced persons who began blocking traffic across the Inguri River on 6 January asked Londer Tsaava, chairman of the Tbilisi-based Abkhaz government in exile, on 11 January to communicate to Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze their demand for the immediate withdrawal of the Russian peacekeeping forces deployed under the CIS aegis in the Abkhaz conflict zone, Caucasus Press reported. The peacekeepers' mandate expired on 31 December. LF

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