The Russian foreign ministry sharply criticized Abkhazia for failingto live up to its earlier agreements with Moscow and Tbilisi,Russian radio reported August 23. On August 22, the Abkhaz SupremeSoviet had rejected a Russian-mediated protocol settling the Georgian-Abkhazdispute by federalizing Georgia. Instead, Abkhaz leader VladislavArdzinba demanded statehood for his people and the replacementof Georgia with an association of a rump Georgia and Abkhaziaas equal partners. But, Russian diplomats sharply criticized Georgiafor failing to define Georgia as a federation in the new constitutionapproved by the Georgian parliament on that date. Georgian leaderEduard Shevardnadze suggested that Tbilisi might make concessions–onfederalism and a shift to a bicameral legislature–if the Abkhaziansdropped their separatist demands.
Russia Launches New Oil and Gas Ventures in Central Asia.