In Moscow, Russia and the would-be republic of Abkhazia entered into a protocol on the repair and reopening of a key Caucasus railroad section which passes through Abkhazia. That section had been damaged during the 1992-1993 Georgian-Abkhaz conflict, in which Russian troops helped the Abkhaz. The document, which indicates that other interested parties are expected to contribute funds to the reconstruction, was signed by the Russian deputy prime minister responsible for CIS affairs, Aleksei Bolshakov, and the Abkhaz would-be prime minister Gennady Gagulia (17)
The railroad is critically important to Russia’s trade with Georgia and Armenia and also for supplying Russian troops which have obtained basing rights in those two countries–the interested parties being asked to co-finance the reconstruction. Politically, the agreement should dispel Tbilisi’s short-lived hopes, and Abkhazia’s fears, that the reconstruction might be used as a pretext for Georgian-Russian cooperation against Abkhazia. It should also disabuse Eduard Shevardnadze and other Georgian officials of the professed belief that the September 15 treaty on Russian military basing rights in Georgia meant that Moscow had extended de facto recognition to Abkhazia as part of Georgia.
Shevardnadze Hits UN.