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UN's New Georgia Representative Visits Abkhazia

(RFE/RL) August 28, 2006 (RFE/RL) -- The UN secretary-general's newly appointed special representative in Georgia has met with the foreign minister of the breakaway region of Abkhazia.

UN official Jean Arnault followed talks with Sergei Shamba by calling on Tbilisi and Sukhum to use political dialogue to resolve their current deadlock.

Tensions have been high since July, when Georgian troops cracked down on local militias in Kodori Gorge, a mountainous district that straddles Abkhazia and the rest of Georgia.

Arnault's talks came as Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin met with the so-called Moscow Group of Friends to discuss the situation in the gorge.

The Group of Friends, organized under the auspices of the UN secretary-general, comprises U.S. Ambassador to Russia William Burns and the charges d'affaires in Moscow of Britain, Germany, and France.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that "detailed consideration" was given in the Moscow discussion to the introduction of Georgian armed forces into the gorge, the role of CIS peacekeepers, and the "problems of security in the Transcaucasus region as a whole."

(with material from

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