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No results from Georgian-Abkhazian meeting

By Temuri Kiguradze
Wednesday, August 12
The third meeting to discuss the prevention and investigation of incidents in the Abkhazian-Georgian conflict zone in the Abkhazian town of Gali on August 11 has finished without any concrete results.

The Georgian delegation, led by Interior Ministry spokesperson Shota Utiashvili, demanded that the Abkhazian separatist side and representatives of the Russian military commandment relax the procedures ethnic Georgians living in the Gali region have to go through to cross the Abkhaz administrative border, but the Abkhazian side refused to accept the Georgian terms.

“Nobody expected that agreement would be reached so soon,” stated Shota Utiashvili, speaking to The Messenger on August 11. Utiashvili noted that despite the lack of the concrete results “it’s positive that this dialogue takes place and is constructive.” “I hope that in future we will be able to reach agreements step by step and provide security for Georgians living in that region,” concluded Utiashvili.

Abkhazia has confirmed that the sides were unable to reach agreement on the free border passage of Gali residents. “The Georgian side complained that Gali region residents are being hindered when crossing the Georgian-Abkhazian border. We state that passage is only allowed on the main Enguri Bridge, and only for those with special passes. All other passage is illegal. Everyone who tries to cross the border without a proper pass will be arrested,” announced Ruslan Kishmaria, head of the Abkhazian delegation.

Kishmaria also noted that the Abkhazian side posed a question about missing Abkhazian residents, who “according to Abkhaz information have been arrested by Georgian special services.” “The Georgian representatives stated that they have no information on this,” said Kishmaria, concluding that “speaking broadly the meeting passed constructively but with tenseness.”

The holding of meetings designed to prevent incidents and increase stability and security in the conflict zone was agreed at the Geneva discussions. Representatives of Russia, the UN and the EU monitoring mission in Georgia also participated in the meeting. The fourth meeting between the sides, also in Gali, is scheduled to be conducted on September 8.