Strasbourg, 25 September 1995 (RFE/RL) -- In Strasbourg today, the Speaker of the Georgian Parliament, Zurab Zhvania, welcomed yesterday's call for increased humanitarian aid to his country by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.
At a meeting with journalists, Zhvania described the assembly's official recommendation to the Council's 39 member states as "very helpful."
Zhvania noted that last evening's debate on the humanitarian situation of displaced persons in Georgia was the first time Georgian affairs had been discussed by the assembly.
"I now hoped that the assembly would discuss political as well as humanitarian problems in my country," Zhvania said.
Yesterday's recommendation urged "Abkhazian authorities to abstain from holding elections or referenda prior to the return of all refugees and displaced persons" to Abkhazia.
An estimated 200,000 displaced persons in Georgia, most of them ethnic Georgians, are still unable to return to their native Abkhazia. Most of them fled their homes during the 1992-93 conflict in Abkhazia, when separatists sought independence from Georgia.
Georgia attained special guest delegation status at the assembly four months ago. This allows its five-member parliamentary delegation to participate in assembly debates and committee work without voting rights. Armenia and Azerbaijan were given the same status this year.