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Reports: Abkhaz Talks Possible This Month

Senior diplomats from the United States, Germany, UK, France, Russia and Georgia may meet this month for talks to help defuse current tensions, AFP reported, quoting an unnamed senior U.S. State Department official.

The official, traveling back to Washington from Tbilisi with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, said Washington’s proposal also called for the UN and EU, as well as the Abkhaz side, to be represented at the talks.

Speaking at a joint news conference with President Saakashvili in Tbilisi on July 10, Secretary of State Rice said that Abkhazia needed to be discussed on a higher level, “to elevate the issue.”

“I’m going to call for discussions to be held at a higher level, at least at the level of political directors or perhaps beyond that, because this is a serious situation,” Rice said.
The United States, Germany, UK, France and Russia are members of the UN Secretary General’s Group of Friends on Georgia, dealing with the Abkhaz conflict.

The Group met late last month in Berlin and discussed a German-proposed three-stage peace plan for Abkhazia.

Der Spiegel”s online edition reported this week that phase one of the German plan envisaged a year of trust-building measures, involving the signing of a treaty on the non-use of force and the beginning of the return of internally displaced persons. The second phase, the following year, would see the beginning of reconstruction work, with Berlin organizing a donors’ fundraising conference, and the third would involve defining Abkhazia’s political status.


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