Russians, Georgians deplore attack in rebel Abkhazia region

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Senior officials from Russia and Georgia meeting in Geneva on Tuesday deplored an attack in Georgia's rebel region of Abkhazia which killed an Abkhaz border guard and injured two others.

The attack on June 1 took place in the Gali district, a predominantly ethnic Georgian area of Abkhazia on the de facto border with Georgian-controlled territory.

"The participants expressed concern with the recent incidents in the Gali district. They regretted the loss of lives and urged for the need to avoid further destabilisation or an increase of tensions on the ground," said Pierre Morel, the European Union's envoy who chaired the Geneva talks.

In response to the incident, Russian and Georgian delegations "agreed to convene early next week a meeting of the incident prevention and response mechanism in Gali," added Morel following the 11th round of talks held after Russia and Georgia's brief war in August 2008.

"The situation remains difficult, sometimes dangerous, including in the zones which were not conflict zones two years ago," said the EU envoy.

The delegations also agreed to reconvene their Geneva discussions which are overseen by the EU, Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the United Nations, on July 27.

Georgia and Russia fought a brief war over South Ossetia following a Georgian military operation there, which ended with Moscow recognising the two rebel regions as independent states.

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.

© 2010 AFP

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