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10 Nov, 2008 06:52

Abkhazia wants equal status at Geneva security talks

EU and UN envoys are on a visit to Abkhazia ahead of next week's international consultation on the Caucasus, where Abkhazia wants to participate as an equal partner.

They will be meeting the president of the newly independent state, who is expected to raise the question of Abkhazia's participation in the upcoming Geneva event.

On Friday Abkhazian President Sergei Bagapsh told the UN Secretary-General's envoy for Georgia, Johan Verbeke, that the Abkhazian side is ready to take part in the meeting only as an equal.

The envoys will also be discussing security in the region following the recent war in South Ossetia.

Russia recognised the independence of Georgia's breakaway regions – Abkhazia and South Ossetia – after the conflict, triggering international criticism. However, Western attitudes have shown a shift lately, with Tbilisi's actions in the war beginning to be questioned.

The EU says it is now ready to re-launch talks on a new partnership agreement with Moscow – the deal is expected to be discussed in Geneva next week.

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