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Caucasus: Planned Parliamentary Elections Internal Matter

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.