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Georgia has suspended unmanned reconnaissance flights over Abkhazia, but could resume
Georgia has suspended unmanned reconnaissance flights over Abkhazia, but could resume them in the event of a threat from the breakaway region, the Caucasus state's UN ambassador said on Friday.

A UN report on Monday said a Georgian drone was shot down by a Russian aircraft over the unrecognized republic on April 20. Moscow, which denies the allegation, dismissed the report as based on unreliable evidence.

The UN also criticized Georgia for carrying out reconnaissance flights over Abkhazia in breach of the terms of a ceasefire deal that ended the armed conflict in the early 1990s.

Speaking after the UN Security Council meeting, convened at Georgia's request to discuss the drone dispute, Irakly Alalsaniya said Tbilisi had stopped flights following the UN report, but "it does not mean we will not use these military capabilities if a threat emanates from the region."

Russian UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin called Georgia's decision "important" and the Security Council discussion conducive to consolidating the 1994 ceasefire agreement.

The council ended its closed meeting without taking any action.

Churkin also said Russia was prepared to conduct a thorough inquiry into the incident along with foreign experts.

Moscow has questioned the Georgian-provided materials saying video footage is insufficient evidence and radar recordings do not correspond to Russia's data.

Russia's foreign minister said earlier on Friday Russia would demand the Security Council discuss Georgian flights over breakaway Abkhazia.

Sergei Lavrov said Georgia's breaching of its obligations "should be dealt with first, as we must cure the disease, not its symptoms." He also said the Security Council meeting would be futile without Abkhazia's participation.

Abkhazia claims it has downed seven Georgian drones this year.

Abkhazia and South Ossetia have remained a source of tensions between the former Soviet neighbors. Tensions have also been fueled by Georgian plans to join NATO and integrate into other Western structures pursued by Georgia, which is located on strategic routes for Caspian oil and gas.


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