Georgia Warns Moscow to Stay Away from Abkhazia Conflict

(Financial Times/Itar Tass)–Georgia has warned Russia not to interfere in a continuing political stalemate in its breakaway republic of Abkhazia.

The warning came after Georgia’s foreign ministry summoned Russia’s ambassador to protest the movement of a small group of Russian military forces towards the Abkhaz capital Sukhumi on Saturday.

The troop movement came after supporters of Sergey Bagapsh–the opposition leader who won a disputed presidential election on October 3–took control of the parliament and presidential administration buildings in Sukhumi.

The occupation–which began on Friday–is in protest of the government’s decision to order a reelection that would null the October 3 vote.

Georgia urged Russia not to intervene in the Abkhaz power struggle after Russia’s foreign ministry issued a statement saying Moscow would "take the necessary measures to defend its interests" if Bagapsh’s supporters "illegally" seized power–a reference to Friday’s seizure of the public buildings.

Meeting with the candidates separately–Abkhazian Prime Minister Nodar Khashba–told Itar Tass on Monday–that an understanding had been reached–and that "the events of past Friday" have transcended the boundaries of legality."

He expressed confidence about bringing the two men together in the coming few days–or even hours–to "work out the only correct common decision–which will make it possible to leave behind a political crisis in Abkhazia."


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