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Abkhaz Leader Says No Talk With Tbilisi Over Status

Sergei Bagapsh (file photo) 12 April 2005 -- Abkhaz President Sergei Bagapsh has said there can be no discussion with the Georgian government over the status of the breakaway region.

Bagapsh said Abkhazia will discuss economic issues with the Georgian authorities, but not political ones.

Bagapsh made the comments to a U.S. delegation visiting the regional capital Sukhum yesterday. The U.S. delegation included Stephen Mann, the U.S. State Department envoy for Eurasian conflicts, and the U.S. ambassador to Georgia, Richard Miles.

Giorgi Volsky, Georgian deputy minister for conflict resolution, noted that the U.S. delegation was visiting Abkhazia in the run-up to U.S. President George W. Bush's planned visit to the Georgian capital Tbilisi next month.

Since his election last year, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, has tried to bring Abkhazia -- and another breakaway region, South Ossetia -- under control of the central government. His offers of broader autonomy, however, have been rejected.


For the latest news on develpments in Abkhazia, see RFE/RL's webpages on Abkhazia and Georgia.

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