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Russian President Vladimir Putin's special envoy for the Abkhaz conflict, Valerii Loshchinin, met with senior Abkhaz leaders in Sukhum on 9 January, "The Georgian Times" and RIA-Novosti reported. The Russian envoy held talks with Abkhaz Prime Minister Gennadii Gagulia, Deputy Prime Minister Valerii Arshba, and Foreign Minister Sergei Shamba. Russia is attempting to restart negotiations between the Abkhaz and Georgians that remain stalled over the Abkhaz demand for a complete withdrawal of Georgian troops from the upper part of the Kodori Gorge as a precondition for talks. Georgian officials are also concerned over the Russian grant of citizenship to a number of Abkhaz residents, characterizing the act as "unacceptable." RG