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Russians, Georgians meet in fresh security talks

Russians and Georgians met in a fresh round of talks Tuesday, four months after Tbilisi threatened to walk away from future discussions if Moscow failed to halt its “terror campaign.”

“The meeting has started,” said a UN spokeswoman, adding that all parties, including representatives from Russia, Georgia as well as Georgian rebel regions South Ossetia and Abkhazia are in attendance.

The 17th 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 two breakaway Georgian regions.

Russia recognised the two rebel regions as independent after the brief 2008 war between Moscow and Tbilisi, a move condemned by Georgia’s Western allies and only followed by a handful of other states.

The latest round of discussions came after a tense session in June, when participants determined that there were risks of a dangerous escalation on the ground.

Tbilisi then described Moscow as “the state party sponsoring state terrorism.”

Following that session, rebel Abkhazia elected a pro-Russian politician — Alexander Ankvab — as its new president in August, in a poll that was condemned by Georgia as a “cynical act of pseudo-democratic policy” and a “farce” which made a “mockery of international law”.