Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 16

In a resolution on measures to resolve the conflict in Abkhazia, the presidents of CIS member countries reaffirmed that Abkhazia constitutes an integral part of Georgia and imposed comprehensive economic sanctions on the breakaway region. The leaders pledged that CIS countries would abstain from any contacts with Abkhaz political or military bodies, stop arms traffic to Abkhazia, repatriate citizens serving in Abkhaz forces, and support Russian and UN steps toward a political settlement based on Abkhazia’s autonomy within Georgia. In addition, they authorized Georgia to approve trade, financial transactions, goods and passenger traffic, and humanitarian assistance in Abkhazia. "Let Abkhazia be a republic with a large measure of self-government, but it is inadmissible that it should turn into a nest of separatism," Boris Yeltsin told the final news conference. Ukraine, Moldova, and Azerbaijan were the principal supporters of the measures. Shevardnadze scored a personal victory with the resolution, but failed to achieve his twin goal of making the Russian "peacekeeping" troops responsible for Georgian refugees’ return to Abkhazia. Shevardnadze agreed to extend the 3,000 Russian peacekeepers’ mandate by only three months, pending Russian-Georgian negotiations on enlarging the troops’ mission to include refugee repatriation. (15)

To secure Moscow’s support on the Abkhaz issue, Shevardnadze signed a treaty on basing rights for Russian troops in Georgia and held out the prospect of Georgian membership in the CIS customs union. His major bargaining chip remains Georgian parliamentary ratification of the treaty on basing rights, which Tbilisi has delayed pending final settlement of the Abkhazian conflict. Meanwhile, economic sanctions on Abkhazia lack supervisory and enforcement mechanisms and will depend largely on Russian land and naval forces, a situation that will maintain Moscow’s leverage over Georgia.

Tajik Mufti Killed, Negotiations Deadlocked.