Georgianpresident Eduard Shevardnadze said July 24 that the resolutionof the Abkhaz and South Ossetian issues would become the "touchstone"of relations between Tbilisi and Moscow, Interfax reported. IfRussia can settle those conflicts, Shevardnadze added, it will"win the trust of CIS states." Also on July 24, Georgianforeign minister Vakhtang Gogadze sent a note to Russian foreignminister Andrei Kozyrev arguing that the international standingof Russia and Georgia will suffer until the current Chechen andAbkhaz leaders are removed, but other Georgian officials suggestedthat a boycott of Abkhaz leader Vladislav Ardzinba would backfire.Such a boycott–proposed by Russian Federation Council chairmanVladimir Shumeiko–would spell the end of negotiations betweenGeorgia and Abkhazia, these officials said. In a related move,Tbilisi officials denied news reports that the UN special envoyfor Georgia, Edouard Brunner, had said Georgia had lost the warin Abkhazia.
Baku Denies Armenian Reports of Change in Nakhichevan’s Status.