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Russia Reopens Direct Railway Link With Abkhazia

10 September 2004 -- Direct railway connections between Georgia's separatist province of Abkhazia and the Russian capital are resuming.

The Sukhum-Moscow line was closed 11 years ago.

A first passenger train will leave the Abkhaz capital later today. Russia's railways chief, Gennadii Fadeev, is expected to attend the ceremony.

Abkhazia's acting prime minister, Astamur Tarba, said today that the resumption of railway traffic between Sukhum and Moscow is a "very important" development for his region.

Georgia had in the past repeatedly objected to the reopening of direct railroad links between Sukhum and Moscow.

Abkhazia proclaimed its independence in the early 1990s, triggering an armed conflict with Georgia. Despite a cease-fire agreement, both sides are still formally at war.