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Abkhaz Foreign Minister Submits Resignation

15 June 2004 -- The foreign minister of the separatist government of Abkhazia, Sergei Shamba, has handed in his resignation.

Georgia's "Novosti-Gruziya" news agency quotes a letter ascribed to Shamba in which he asks Abkhaz leader Vladislav Ardzinba to release him of his duties.

Shamba, who has been foreign minister since 1997, reportedly blames the top leadership of the breakaway Georgian province for failing to guarantee the security of the Abkhaz population.

Some Georgian media speculate Shamba's decision may be linked to the murder last week of Garri Aiba, a veteran of the war with Georgia and a prominent figure of the Amtsakhara opposition movement.

Aiba was killed near his house in Sukhum on 10 June. No one has claimed responsibility for his assassination.

Abkhazia proclaimed its independence in 1992, triggering a bloody war with Georgia.

(Prime News Georgia)