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Georgia: President Says Deadlock With Abkahzia Broken

Tbilisi, 16 June 1997 (RFE/RL) -- Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze has welcomed Russian President Boris Yeltsin's consultations with leaders of Georgia's breakaway Abkhazia region.

Speaking in his weekly interview with Georgian radio today, Shevardnadze said that Yeltsin has broken the deadlock with Abkhazia and that negotiations are back on track to settle the conflict.

Shevardnadze welcomed Abkhazian leader Vladislav Ardzinba's offer to meet face-to-face. Shevardnadze also said Georgian Foreign Minister Irakli Menagarishvili and several representatives of the Georgian Parliament will soon go to Moscow to join the Russian-mediated negotiations with the Abkhazian side.

Russia has had some 2,500 troops patrolling the border between Georgia and Abkhazia since 1994, a year after Georgian troops fled fighting with Abkhaz separatists.