Tbilisi, 21 July 2003 (RFE/RL) - Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze today called on Russia to sever all unsanctioned political and economic ties with the breakaway republic of Abkhazia. Shevardnadze said he sent a letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin in which he reminded him that the CIS heads of state had pledged seven years ago that no former Soviet republic should maintain ties with Abkhazia without Georgia's consent.
Georgia claims Russia, which helped the separatist armed forces during the conflict, remains the main obstacle to a peace agreement with Abkhazia. Abkhazia seceded from Georgia in 1992, triggering a bloody conflict with Tbilisi.
A new round of UN-sponsored talks between Georgia and Abkhazia is due to open today in Geneva. The talks will last for two days and will be held behind closed doors.