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Georgia and Russia resume security talks

International mediators in Geneva and a report by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon have helped nudge Moscow's negotiators back to the table.

Delegations from Russia and the Moscow-backed rebel region of South Ossetia withdrew from the talks on Monday, citing the refusal to attend of another Moscow-backed rebel region, Abkhazia, due to a delay in a United Nations report.

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.

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

Russia recognised Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states last year after the war with Georgia, but the rest of the world still considers the provinces part of Georgia.

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 has pledged to site military bases in both regions.

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