In a lecture at the Royal Institute for International Affairs in London, Georgian foreign minister Irakli Menagarishvili pointed out that "the presence of Russian peacekeeping forces in Abkhazia serves to preserve the existing situation, is not conducive to a settlement, and contributes to maintaining the deadlock." Menagarishvili reaffirmed that Georgia does not aim to oust the Russian troops from the conflict theater, but seeks to internationalize the peacekeeping operation and the political negotiations.
In Tbilisi, State Minister (equivalent of prime minister) Niko Lekishvili and First Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Ukleba (in Menagarishvili’s absence) both issued protests over Russian prime minister Viktor Chernomyrdin’s order authorizing direct deliveries of Abkhaz fruit and other produce to Russia. (See Monitor, November 12) Lekishvili and Ukleba charged that Chernomyrdin’s decision "openly violated" Georgia’s sovereignty and successive CIS summit resolutions on Abkhazia, most recently renewed at the October 22-23 Chisinau summit. (Prime-News, Russian agencies, November 14-15) A second round of Russian-mediated Georgian-Abkhaz negotiations with Western participation is scheduled for this week in Geneva.