Russians, Georgians hold fresh security talks

4th March 2011, Comments 0 comments

Russians and Georgians met in a fresh round of talks Friday amid heightened tensions after Tbilisi claimed to have uncovered a Moscow-backed bomb plot outside a private television station.

"The discussions have begun this morning at 9:00 am (0800 GMT). They will last a day," said a UN spokeswoman Ana Beauclair.

The 15th round of talks since 2008 are mediated by the European Union, the United Nations and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and are meant to prevent another flare-up in violence over the Moscow-backed breakaway regions South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

During the last session in December, a key point of contention surrounded Russia's failure to match Georgia's pledge on the non-use of force.

Saakashvili on November 23 pledged before the European Parliament that his government would never use force to retake Russian-backed rebel regions.

However, Georgians pointed out during the previous discussions that Russia's reponse to Saakashvili's declaration was "disappointing" as Moscow has refused to make the same commitment.

The mediator of the session Pierre Morel, who represents the EU, acknowledged that the question posed by the Georgians remained "open" for Friday's talks.

South Ossetia and Abkhazia broke away from Tbilisi's control during wars in the early 1990s after Georgia gained independence with the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union.

But it was after the five-day 2008 war that Moscow recognised the two regions as independent states.

© 2011 AFP

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