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Abkhaz Leader Ready For Talks 'On Equal Terms'

Abkhaz President Sergei Bagapsh (file photo) 8 July 2005 -- The president of Georgia's breakaway region of Abkhazia has said he is ready to talk with Georgian officials.

Sergei Bagapsh said any such negotiations would be "on equal terms." Bagapsh also said yesterday that his government's stance has not changed, and that it is seeking to build an independent state.

Abkhazia has been de facto independent for more than a decade, following a bloody war for independence.

Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili has made a priority of regaining control of Abkhazia and another breakaway territory, South Ossetia, since coming to power at the end of 2003.