Georgian minister in Moscow for talks on breakaway republics
Georgian reintegration minister, Temur Yakobashvili, began a two-day visit to Moscow on Friday, his spokesman said. The minister will meet with a number of Foreign Ministry and State Duma officials to discuss a resolution to the Georgian-Abkhazian conflict. He will also discuss Tbilisi's reasoning behind involving the U.S. and the EU in the negotiation process and the move to replace Russian peacekeepers with 'neutral' Western forces, reported RIA Novosti.
Tensions between Russia and Georgia plummeted to a new low following Moscow's decision to step up ties with Abkhazia and Georgia's other Georgian breakaway region, South Ossetia.
On Wednesday Georgia's Foreign Ministry announced its withdrawal from a 1995 CIS unified air defense agreement signed by a number of former Soviet republics, including Russia. Following this statement Abkhaz President Sergei Bagapsh proposed that Russia open a military base on its territory. Russia, which has administered a peacekeeping contingent in Georgia's breakaway regions since bloody conflicts in the 1990s, dispatched additional troops to Abkhazia recently to deter what it called a planned Georgian military offensive.