Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 15

Georgian parliament chairman Zurab Zhvania announced yesterday in Tbilisi that he has conducted direct talks in Tskhinvali with the South Ossetian leaders. Such meetings do not imply recognition of South Ossetian statehood, but only of the role of Lyudvig Chibirov and Konstantin Dzugaev as elected leaders of their people and region, Zhvania said. The talks focused on repatriation of Georgian refugees and resumption of the region’s economic ties with the rest of Georgia. Zhvania called for continuing the direct talks in order to determine South Ossetia’s political status. (Interfax, January 21) The development parallels recent direct talks conducted by Foreign Minister Irakly Menagarishvili in Sukhumi with the Abkhaz leaders. Without abandoning Russian-mediated talks, Tbilisi hopes that the bilateral format may overcome the impasse that Russian mediation has perpetuated.

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