Georgia’s ambassador to Russia, Vazha Lordkipanidze, and Chechnya’s external relations minister, Ruslan Kutaev, conferred on November 18 and 19 in Moscow on developing bilateral relations. The two reached preliminary agreement on a meeting between Georgian president Eduard Shevardnadze and Chechen president-in-waiting Zelimkhan Yandarbiev. The Georgians asked the Chechens to keep the agenda and the results of the meetings confidential for the time being. (Interfax, November 20) The meetings follow recent Chechen overtures for a Chechen-Georgian "strategic partnership" that would include coordinated policies in the Caucasus region. The Chechen leaders abjured their earlier support for Abkhaz secession and admitted to having been misled by Moscow into opposing Georgian interests prior to the recent war in Chechnya. Shevardnadze last week cautiously welcomed the overture while also signaling that he will not be drawn into an anti-Russian front.
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