In an address to the country on June 15 and a conference with ambassadors of great powers yesterday, Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze has announced a four-pronged initiative to jump-start negotiations on Abkhazia. Tbilisi proposes negotiations on the following parallel tracks: in the UN Security Council, in the Geneva framework of the “friends of Georgia” countries (led by the United States and Germany, but now also including Russia), in a special meeting of the CIS Council of Heads of State, which Shevardnadze wants Russia to convene, and in direct negotiations between Tbilisi and Abkhazia.
Tbilisi’s main immediate conditions are repatriation of Georgians recently re-expelled from Gali district and recognition of the principle of territorial integrity of a federalized Georgia. (Radio Tbilisi, RTR, Russian agencies, June 15 and 16) Shevardnadze evidently hopes that at least one of these tracks will initiate movement. Any of the four proposed frameworks would dilute Russia’s “peacekeeping” and mediating role, which has enabled Moscow to play off Georgians and Abkhaz against each other.
WINNERS DECLARED IN TURKMEN OFFSHORE TENDERS.