Sochi, Russia; 25 October 1996 (RFE/RL) -- The leader of the
Abkhaz separatists, Vladislav Ardzinba, said scheduled parliamentary
elections in the Georgian breakaway region are its internal affair.
Ardzinba was commenting today to a delegation from the Organization
for Security and Cooperation (OSCE) which arrived yesterday in the
Caucasus region in a bid to end the row between Georgia and the
Abkhaz separatists. Earlier this week, the U.N. Security Council
passed a resolution urging the Abkhaz separatists to postpone the
November 23 elections until the region's status is negotiated.
Earlier this month, the Georgian Parliament criticized the Abkhaz
separatists for planning the parliamentary vote. It said the vote
could not be valid since some 250,000 refugees have yet to be
repatriated to Abkhazia. The refugees fled when fighting erupted
between Georgian and Abkaz forces in 1993. The conflict ended 13
months later with routed Georgian units retreating from the region.