Georgian, Abkhaz, Russian, EU, and UN representatives took part in a meeting on July 28 in the UN Human Rights Office in Abkhazia's southernmost Gali Raion to discuss the security situation on both sides of the border between Abkhazia and the rest of Georgia.
Such regular discussions were envisaged under the agreements signed in August and September 2008 that ended the five-day war between Russia and Georgia, but the format and modalities were agreed only at talks in Geneva last month; the first talks focusing on security issues took place on July 14.
Prior to the July 28 meeting, Abkhaz Deputy Foreign Minister Maksim Gvindjia said the Abkhaz side intended to focus on the disappearance in February 2007 of David Sigua, a Georgian official from Gali. The Abkhaz are convinced the Georgians abducted and killed Sigua.
The UN Observer Mission in Georgia conducted an investigation into the circumstances of his disappearance; the findings
have not been made public.
The Georgian participants at the July 28 talks disclaimed
any knowledge of Sigua's fate.
The Georgian delegation for its part formally protested at the July 28 talks the detention on July 22 by Abkhaz and Russian border guards of 27 people travelling in two buses who sought to cross from Abkhazia into Georgia proper. The Abkhaz claimed the bus passengers did not have appropriate documentation, and that they tried to cross the border at a location where there was no formal border post.
Gvindjia described the July 28 talks as tense but constructive: agreement was reportedly reached on setting up a "hot line" to facilitate the exchange of information on the situation in the border region. The next round is scheduled for August 11.