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Georgia: Abkhazia Agrees To Russian Peacekeepers' Release

SUKHUMI, August 20 (RFE/RL) - Georgia reached an agreement in Sukhumi today with the leader of separatist Abkhazia for the release of three kidnapped soldiers from a Russian peacekeeping contingent.

A spokesman for the Georgian Interior Ministry, Georgi Klerikashvili, says in return, Abkhazia agreed to meet the kidnappers' demands and turn over the bodies of two Georgian gunmen who were shot last week by police in Abkhazia.

He says the exchange will take place on the border between Georgia and breakaway Abkhazia, but the timing remains uncertain.

Two Russian captains and a private, part of a contingent stationed in Georgia to separate Georgian and Abkhazian forces, were taken hostage over the weekend.

Last Friday, Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze and Abkhaz leader Vladislav Ardzinba signed an agreement pledging an end to violence.

Today's agreement was reached during a meeting in Sukhumi, the Abkhazian capital, between Ardzinba, Georgian officials, led by Minister of State Niko Lekishvili and the commander of the Russian peacekeeping forces, General Doriya Babenkov.

The Georgian officials were part of a delegation that came to Sukhumi in the wake of the political agreement for talks on economic issues, including transport, energy, communications and construction.