Publication: Monitor Volume: 4 Issue: 12

Georgian president Eduard Shevardnadze has told the new commander of Russian "peacekeeping" troops, Maj. Gen. Sergei Korobko, that the troops have failed to contribute to a resolution of the conflict in Abkhazia. This failure, Shevardnadze said, "makes a renewal of their mandate very problematic." Korobko and the deputy chief of the CIS Military Cooperation Staff, Lt. Gen. Leonid Maltsev, were calling on Shevardnadze in Tbilisi on the occasion of Korobko’s installation as commander of Russian troops in Abkhazia. In a parallel statement in Moscow, Georgian ambassador Vazha Lordkipanidze observed that "Russian peacekeepers have thus far acted as border guards, behind whose backs the Abkhaz side feels secure indeed." (Russian agencies, January 17, 19)

Korobko and Maltsev went on to meet with Abkhaz leaders in Sukhumi, where the two generals publicly expressed disagreement with Shevardnadze and called for an unconditional extension of the Russian troops’ mandate. In Moscow, the Foreign Ministry’s mediator in those negotiations, Gennady Ilichev, yesterday blamed Tbilisi and Sukhumi equally for the stalemate. Ilichev also ruled out the changes sought by Shevardnadze in the mandate of Russian troops. The mandate can only be changed with Abkhaz consent, the envoy pointed out. Korobko is acting commander of the troops. His two predecessors, Valery Yakushev and Dolya Babenkov, had openly tilted toward the Abkhaz side.

Almaty Summit on Fight Against Drugs.