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Calmy-Rey meets Georgian leaders

Swiss mediation in the dispute between Georgia and Russia was the focus of talks between the Swiss foreign minister and Georgia’s president and prime minister on Monday.

Micheline Calmy-Rey, who holds this year’s rotating Swiss presidency, arrived in Georgia on Sunday for a two day visit.

The two sides also discussed Russia’s possible membership of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). Georgia, which already belongs to the WTO, has threatened to block Russia’s application.

Russia and Georgia fought a lightning war in August 2008, in which South Ossetia and Abkhazia broke away from Georgia with Russian support.

The two countries broke off diplomatic relations as a result, and Switzerland has represented each country in the other’s capital since 2009.

The street violent protests of the past few days against President Mikheil Saakashvili in the capital Tbilisi, were raised “briefly” in the talks, Swiss foreign ministry spokesman Lars Knuchel told the Swiss News Agency.

Calmy-Rey had been informed of “the situation on the ground”, said Knuchel, without giving further details.

On Saturday some 4,000 people protested against the violence used to end a demonstration on Thursday, in which two people died.

swissinfo.ch and agencies


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