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'Benetton Diplomacy' In Georgia

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Benetton's plan to open a store in Abkhazia has been nixed after Benetton retailers in Georgia shut up shop in protest.

More from The Wall Street Journal:

Benetton's seven shops in Georgia shut their doors after the Turkish arm of the Italian fashion company announced this week that it would open an outlet in Sukhumi, the capital of Abkhazia.

Although Abkhazia has run its own affairs after it broke away from central government control during a civil war in the early 1990s, Georgians regard it as their sovereign territory, and the dispute has repeatedly escalated into armed conflict.

Benetton Turkey initially stated that it was "proud" to be opening a store in Abkhazia, describing the troubled coastal region as "the door that opens the historical Silk Road to the sea."

The statement caused a furious reaction by the Georgian government, with the foreign minister, Grigol Vashadze, describing it as "outrageous."

-- Luke Allnutt

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