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Georgia Allows UN Conditional Access To Kodori

Georgian Foreign Minister Gela Bezhuashvili (InterPressNews) August 9, 2006 -- Georgia has said that it will permit UN observers to inspect the upper part of the Kodori Gorge, which straddles Georgia and its breakaway province of Abkhazia.

The area was the site of a recent operation against a local militia leader.

The observers will be given access to the area from August 20, but the Georgian government said that only if the observers are given access to the lower part of the gorge, which is controlled by Abkhaz forces.

Georgian Foreign Minister Gela Bezhuashvili said Georgia would "provide transportation and security" for the UN observers.

He also said that more details about the observer mission would be given after an August 15 meeting of diplomats.

Previously, Georgia said it would accept Russia's demand for international monitoring of the gorge only if Moscow agreed to an inspection of its military base in Gudauta, in Abkhazia.

Moscow says Gudauta is used only for its peacekeeping operation in Abkhazia. Georgia says it is still a full-fledged military base.

(Rustavi 2, Civil Georgia)

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