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Georgia: Georgian-Abkhaz Talks End, No Breakthrough

Moscow, 20 June 1997 (RFE/RL) -- Two weeks of intense talks between Georgia and the breakaway region of Abkhazia ended in Moscow today with little visible progress.

The negotiations were led by Abkhaz leader Vladislav Ardzinba and Georgian Foreign Minister Irakly Menagarishvili under the Kremlin's mediation. Georgia's Deputy Foreign Minister, Giga Burduli, said the talks had brought about "some convergence" of both sides' positions, but no major breakthrough.

The Abkhaz side wants full independence or, at the very least, a loose confederation with Tbilisi. The territory seceded from Georgia in 1993 after 13 months of bitter fighting. But Georgia is only prepared to offer Abkhazia autonomy within a single state and wants the secessionist republic to return under its control. Abkhaz leader Vladislav Ardzinba told reporters before leaving Moscow at the end of the talks that "Abkhazia has made a maximum of compromises." He said it was now up to Tbilisi to respond.