In a U.S. press interview, Georgian Parliament Chairman Zurab Zhvania pointed out that “there has been no reaction from the Clinton administration” to Russian manipulation of the conflict in Abkhazia. In the presence of a visiting group of U.S. Congress staffers, Zhvania and other Georgian officials further noted that the post of U.S. ambassador to Georgia has been vacant for eight months, hampering U.S. ability to monitor the situation. Zhvania observed that Russia armed Abkhazia, and wants its own troops in Georgia, because Georgia forms “the strategic pathway between Europe and Asia.” (Dow Jones Newswires, June 2)
Clinton administration envoy Stephen Sestanovich may have added to those question marks during his brief visit to Tbilisi yesterday. Sestanovich turned down Georgian proposals to internationalize the peacekeeping operation in Abkhazia. Without naming President Eduard Shevardnadze, the U.S. envoy described Shevardnadze’s proposals for a Bosnia-inspired peace enforcement operation in Abkhazia as inapplicable. Sestanovich was also cited as stating that changes in the composition of the all-Russian “peacekeeping” contingent are conditional on the prior signing of a joint document by Georgia and Abkhazia. (Russian agencies, June 3) This condition would seem to award to Abkhazia–and to Moscow behind Abkhazia–a right to veto the initiation of an international and genuine peacekeeping operation.
NAZARBAEV STRENGTHENS RELATIONS WITH GULF STATES.