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A U.S. diplomatic delegation is to visit the Abkhaz capital
A U.S. diplomatic delegation is to visit the Abkhaz capital of Sukhumi on July 25 to discuss ongoing peace efforts in the Georgian-Abkhazian conflict, the Abkhaz foreign ministry said on Thursday.

The delegation, led by Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Matthew Bryza, also comprises diplomats from the U.S. embassy in Georgia.

The delegation will hold talks with Abkhaz President Sergei Bagapsh, Abkhaz Security Council secretary Stanislav Lakoba and Foreign Minister Sergei Shamba.

German Ambassador to Georgia Patricia Flor will also visit the breakaway republic on the same day. Abkhazia rejected a German-proposed peace plan on July 18, calling it "unacceptable."

The German plan, backed by the EU, stipulated a non-violence agreement, confidence-building measures over the next year to lead to a determination of Abkhazia's status, and the return of Georgian refugees.

"We are not going to discuss Abkhazia's status," Bagapsh said. "Abkhazia is an independent state."

Bryza previously visited Abkhazia on May 10 to attempt to promote dialogue between Abkhazia and Georgia.

Abkhazia, alongside South Ossetia, another Georgian breakaway republic, announced independence from Georgia in the early 1990s following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Between 10,000 and 30,000 people were killed in the ensuing Georgian-Abkhazian conflict. A ceasefire was signed in Moscow in 1994.

Georgia has accused Russia of fueling tensions in the region with the aim of annexing the republics. Moscow has rejected the accusations, claiming that Tbilisi is planning to invade both Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Both countries have accused each other of troop build-ups in the area.

A series of explosions rocked major cities in Abkhazia at the beginning of this year's tourist season, killing two people. Abkhazia is popular with tourists from all over Russia.


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