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Russia expects agreements ensuring security in Abkhazia and South Ossetia
Russia expects agreements ensuring security in Abkhazia and South Ossetia to be developed during talks Wednesday in Geneva, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said.

International discussions on security and stability in the Caucasus started at the Geneva Palace of Nations and are off limits to reporters.

"We are convinced that these discussions must be held dynamically and result in specific agreements that would guarantee security in Abkhazia and South Ossetia," Andrei Nesterenko told journalists.

He said Russia expected the guarantees to be legally binding.

South Ossetia is represented at the talks by acting Prime Minister Boris Chochiyev and Abkhazia by Foreign Minister Sergei Shamba.

Abkhazian and South Ossetian representatives had been expected to be part of the Russian delegation.

The Russian delegation is led by Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin.

No information was available about either the format of the discussions or its participants. UN representatives and other officials have declined to make any comment.

The United States and other Western countries are expected to press Russia on its compliance with troop commitments under the French-brokered ceasefire agreement with Georgia.

The State Department said Tuesday that Washington still had "serious concerns" over the Russian troops' location and their overall numbers in the separatist regions.

Russia reported a complete pullout from undisputed Georgian territory ahead of the October 10 deadline. Its troops have been replaced by an EU monitoring mission.

Tbilisi has objected to Russia's military presence in the upper Kodori Gorge and the Akhalgori district, while Moscow says the areas are the parts of Abkhazia and South Ossetia that had been occupied by Georgian troops.


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