The prospects for settling the conflict over Abkhazia appear to be dim at the latest round of Georgian-Abkhaz talks in Moscow. On November 9, Russian deputy prime minister Aleksei Bolshakov met with the head of the Abkhaz delegation to the talks, Sokrat Dzhindzholia, to discuss a draft interim protocol put forward by Russian mediators last July which is now the main focus of the discussions between the two sides. Following the meeting, a senior Russian Foreign Ministry official admitted that the negotiations "are not going well, in fact, they are bogged down." (10) In the meantime, Abkhaz leader Vladislav Ardzinba has rejected a call from the Georgian head of state, Eduard Shevardnadze, for changing the mandate of the CIS peacekeeping forces in Abkhazia. He said that Abkhazia would never agree to the peacekeepers carrying out "police functions." (11) In another blow to the prospects for peace in the disputed region, Sergey Bagapsh, a deputy prime minister of the separatist Abkhaz regime, was seriously wounded in an attack carried out the same day in Sukhumi. (12) Bagapsh is known to have put forward a number of proposals on settling the conflict peacefully and supported the idea of the return of refugees to Abkhazia, thus placing himself in opposition to Ardzinba, the hard-line leader.
Karabakh Talks at a Standstill.