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Georgian PM Meets Pro-Russian Separatist Leader

5 November -- Georgian Prime Minister Zurab Zhvania today met for the first time with Eduard Kokoity, leader of the unrecognized republic of South Ossetia, in talks attended by senior Russian and European officials.

There were no immediate details of the meeting, but Zhvania told AFP the closed-door meeting in the southern Russian resort town Sochi would focus on the security of residents in Georgian villages in South Ossetia.

Russian First Deputy Foreign Minister Valerii Loshchinin and representatives from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) were also at the meeting between Zhvania and Kokoity, who has led South Ossetia since late 2001.

Georgian Conflict Settlements Minister Giorgi Khaindrava said no serious decisions should be expected from today's talks but that the meeting is an important step toward resolving the conflict.


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