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Council Of Europe: Georgia Is 'Desperate for Peace'

Strasbourg, 24 September 1996 (RFE/RL) -- The chairman of Georgia's Parliament said today that his country is "desperate for peace," not only in the conflict-torn Abkhazia region, but in the entire Caucasus.

Addressing the Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly in Strasbourg, Zurab Zhvania called on the body to appoint a member to investigate the Abkhazia conflict and report back to the assembly early next year.

Zhvania was invited to address the Parliamentary Assembly after Georgia was given Special Guest status at the body five months ago. He called the assembly's granting of the status "the most important historic event (so far in) my country's integration into Europe."

Armenia and Azerbaijan now enjoy the same status, which is generally the first step toward membership in the Council of Europe. Parliamentarians enjoying the status can participate in the assembly's debates and committee work, but have no voting rights.

The assembly is also due today to debate and vote on a report dealing with the humanitarian situation of displaced persons in Georgia.

Georgia's Foreign Minister, Yrakli Menegarishvili, yesterday told the United Nations General Assembly that efforts to settle the Abkhazia conflict have failed, despite concessions from Tbilisi.