ABKHAZIA ACCUSES GEORGIA OF SEEKING ITS ISOLATION
Abkhaz Prime Minister Gennadii Gagulia responded on 1 February to Adamia's allegations by accusing Georgia of seeking to isolate Abkhazia from Russia both politically and economically, Interfax reported. Gagulia warned that the withdrawal of the Russian peacekeeping force from the Abkhaz conflict zone "will certainly result in a sharp increase in tensions and [possibly] even the resumption of hostilities," Caucasus Press reported. Following talks on 31 January with Russian First Deputy Foreign Minister Valerii Loshchinin, who is Russian President Vladimir Putin's special envoy for the Abkhaz conflict, Gagulia said that Abkhazia is ready to begin talks on the repatriation of the Georgian displaced persons and the economic rehabilitation of the region. LF
GEORGIAN OPPOSITION POLITICIAN CALLS FOR DIALOGUE WITH ABKHAZIA
Union of Traditionalists of Georgia Chairman Akaki Asatiani told the independent Rustavi-2 television channel on 2 February that the Abkhaz conflict can be settled only by "mutual reasonable compromises" and not by force, ITAR-TASS reported. He said Georgians and Abkhaz should reach agreement on their own on the optimum format for coexistence and the status of Abkhazia within Georgia. Asatiani participated in an OSCE-sponsored meeting between Abkhaz and Georgian representatives in London last month to discuss political approaches to resolving the conflict. LF
GEORGIAN LOCAL POLICE CHIEF SHOT DEAD IN ABKHAZIA
Zugdidi Raion Criminal Police Chief Beglar Tonia was shot dead late on 1 February in neighboring Gali Raion, Caucasus Press reported. Unidentified assailants opened fire with submachine guns, grenades, and handguns when Tonia and five colleagues approached a car that had earlier been reported stolen. LF
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