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Georgia and Russia resume security talks

Delegations from Russia and Georgia held a morning of talks in Geneva on Tuesday, after the Russian side was persuaded to rejoin the negotiations.

This content was published on May 19, 2009 - 15:45

Representatives of Russia and the Moscow-backed rebel region of South Ossetia had left the talks on Monday, citing the refusal to attend of another Moscow-backed rebel region, Abkhazia.

When the talks resumed, the two sides split into two working groups to discuss security and humanitarian issues, a source close to the process said. They broke up as planned in the early afternoon.

The United States said on Monday it was dismayed by the walkout. Both the US and Russia are eager to secure stability in the volatile southern Caucasus region, long an area of Moscow's influence and now an important transit territory for Caspian gas and oil deliveries to the West.

The current session of closed-door talks between Russia and Georgia is the fifth since September, following their brief but devastating war in August over South Ossetia.

In the aftermath of the conflict, Russia recognised Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states, but the rest of the world still considers the provinces part of Georgia.

Abkhazia had been concerned that a United Nations report – which covers the activities of UN observers in the region - would describe it as a region of Georgia. In the event, the report did not refer to its political status.

Both Abkhazia and South Ossetia became de facto self-governing as a result of fighting in the 1990s that followed the collapse of the Soviet Union. Moscow says it will site military bases in both regions.

The talks will reconvene on July 1.

swissinfo.ch with agencies

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