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Georgian Leader Seeks International Help In Abkhazia

1 August 2005 -- Visiting Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili in Sweden today urged the European Union, the United States, and Russia to help his government peacefully settle the conflict in his country's breakaway republic of Abkhazia.

Abkhazia seceded from Georgia in the early 1990s, triggering a short war that killed thousands and forced nearly all of the Black Sea province's ethnic Georgians from their homes.

Saakashvili has vowed to bring Abkhazia and another separatist province, South Ossetia, back under Tbilisi's central control by the end of his current term.

The Georgian president today held talks with Sweden's Prime Minister Goran Persson at Persson's summer residence in Harpsund, 100 kilometers southwest of Stockholm.

The two men discussed Georgia's European ambitions and its relations with Russia.

Persson's spokeswoman, Anna Helsen, said before the talks that the Swedish prime minister is supporting Georgia's aspirations to join the EU, but "in a very long perspective."

(compiled from local television reports, RIA-Novosti, and AP)

Recent RFE/RL coverage and analysis on Abkhazia:

"Leaders Of Georgian Breakaway Regions Meet"

"Georgia: Authorities Indicate Possible Compromise On Abkhaz Railways"

"Abkhaz Leader Ready For Talks 'On Equal Terms'"

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