Interviewed on Georgian television March 27 for the first time since the outbreak of armed conflict in 1992, Abkhaz president Vladislav Ardzinba reaffirmed the familiar demands for recognition of Abkhazia as a state and for "good neighborly" relations with Georgia in a confederal arrangement. Praising Russia’s "peacekeeping" operation and mediation, Ardzinba described Russia as the guarantor of peace and stability in the entire region and warned that Georgia would never solve the Abkhaz problem by force. Ardzinba stressed that any negotiated settlement would be submitted to an Abkhaz referendum in which "only Abkhaz citizens who did not participate in armed actions against the republic may vote."
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