After three days of on-and-off discussions, the latest round of Georgian-Abkhaz negotiations, mediated by Russia and the UN, broke down in Moscow September 1. Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Boris Pastukhov severely condemned the Abkhaz for the breakdown. Pastukhov and Georgia’s Moscow ambassador and chief negotiator Vazha Lordkipanidze implied that the two countries may join in an economic blockade of Abkhazia in order to force concessions. Shevardnadze and other Georgian officials said that the Abkhaz side may be intransigentbecause it hopes for a victory of hardliners in Russia’s upcoming legislative elections, Interfax reported September 2 and 3.
In the Abkhaz administrative center Sukhumi, the would-be republic’s leader Vladislav Ardzinba on September 4 accused Russia’s Foreign Ministry of favoring Georgia. He warned Tbilisi that if it tried to recover Abkhazia by force, it would be defeated "even more lamentably" than in 1992-1993, when Russian forces intervened on Abkhazia’s side.
The disagreement centers on Abkhazia’s future political status: Georgia has bowed to Russian pressure in agreeing to grant Abkhazia a federal status, but Abkhazia insists on coequal status in a Georgian-Abkhaz confederation. The Abkhaz also resist anything more than a token repatriation of ethnic Georgians, who had formed a plurality of Abkhazia’s population before the 1992-93 war.
Azerbaijan: Two Parties Legalized, Others Denied Registration.