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  Tuesday, November 12, 2019
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Georgia and its breakaway republic of Abkhazia have drawn
Georgia and its breakaway republic of Abkhazia have drawn up a plan to resolve their long-running conflict, a Russian business daily reported on Monday.

Kommersant said the province's leader, Sergei Bagapsh, will be discussing the issue during his visit to Moscow on Monday.

Kommersant, citing sources in the unrecognized republic's government, said that as a first step the sides intend, with Moscow's mediation, to sign an agreement on the non-use of force, the return of Georgian refugees to Abkhazia, and the withdrawal of Georgian troops from the upper part of Abkhazia's Kodori gorge.

"We have reached a basic agreement on the main issues on the bilateral level, but there are still a number of loose ends," the paper quoted Abkhaz Foreign Minister Sergei Shamba as saying.

However, Shamba later told RIA Novosti that the paper had misquoted him, and that the Abkhaz president's visit to Moscow was not related to the resumption of talks between Georgia and the rebel region, which were broken off after Tbilisi deployed troops in the Kodori gorge.

"This is not the purpose of Bagapsh's visit to Moscow. It is a working visit," he said.

The sides have not reached any accords on a peace settlement and have signed no agreements, the minister said.

During his three-day visit, Bagapsh is to meet with top Russian officials, including Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, the diplomat said.

Speaking to RIA Novosti, President Bagapsh confirmed that no agreements with Georgia have yet been reached.

"There are no accords so far," he said.

South Ossetia and Abkhazia, another rebel province, broke away from Georgia in the early 1990s following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Between 10,000 and 30,000 people were killed in the Georgian-Abkhazian conflict and some 3,000 in Georgian-South Ossetian hostilities.

Georgia is looking to regain control over the two de facto independent republics, and accuses Russia of trying to annex them.

Relations between Moscow and Tbilisi have drastically deteriorated since the Kremlin called for closer ties with Abkhazia and South Ossetia in mid-April.

Russia recently increased the number of its peacekeepers in Abkhazia but said the rise was within the limits of agreements on troop numbers signed by the Georgian leadership.


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