Medvedev meets with leader of Georgian rebel region Abkhazia

Other News Materials 26 June 2008 16:23 (UTC +04:00)

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev met with the leader of Georgia's separatist state Abkhazia on Thursday to discuss the so-called frozen conflict in the region, the Kremlin said, reported dpa.

A Kremlin spokesman commented that "it was underlined that any progress on this question can only be achieved given compliance with all previous agreements."

Over 2,500 Russian peacekeeping troops patrol the autonomous region of Abkhazia under a UN ceasefire agreement that ended civil war in 1994.

But the European Union is pushing for talks on a new peace accord between Tbilisi and the Russian-back rebel region that could diminish Russia's peacekeeping role.

Medvedev's meeting with Abkhaz President Sergei Bagapsh comes on the eve of a key European Union-Russia summit in the Siberian city of Khanty Mansiysk, where EU officials are expected to raise the Abkhaz issue.

Long-frayed relations between Tbilisi and Moscow exploded last month when Moscow moved to strengthen diplomatic ties and increase troops in Abkhazia, where most residents have been issued Russian passports since 2000.

Georgia's pro-Western president has been lobbying international support against what it calls an Russia's move to annex its territory.

Analysts, meanwhile, see the recent escalation as a proxy battle over Georgia's aspiration to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.