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  Monday, December 9, 2019
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Talks due to start in Geneva on Tuesday on the recent
Talks due to start in Geneva on Tuesday on the recent Russia-Georgia conflict must "concentrate on essential security issues" in the region, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said.

"If we want to consider ways to guarantee security amid new conditions in the region and if we want to discuss issues that need to be resolved to create conditions for the return of refugees and displaced people we have to quit comparing status and put all procedural games to one side," Lavrov said in an interview broadcast Saturday on the Russian Ekho Moskvy radio station.

He said that if these issues were resolved then the "two working groups on security and the creation of conditions for the return of refugees agreed on by the two presidents [Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and French President Nicolas Sarkozy] will be able to calmly start work on the 18th of the month."

The Russian delegation at the Geneva talks will be headed by Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin, who has said that Russia will present "practical and constructive" proposals at the talks.

Russia and Georgia fought a five-day war after Georgia attacked South Ossetia on August 8. Moscow recognized Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states in late August.

The first round of talks on the conflict began on October 15, but was suspended after the Georgian delegation refused to sit at the negotiating table with representatives of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.


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