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Russian FM Lavrov to discuss Geneva talks in Abkhazia

RIA Novosti

05:10 02/10/2009 MOSCOW, October 2 (RIA Novosti) - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is arriving in Abkhazia on a two-day visit Friday to discuss the latest round of Geneva discussions on the situation in the Caucasus and meet with the Russian military.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrei Nesterenko said prior to the visit that Lavrov is scheduled to hold talks with Abkhaz President Sergei Bagapsh and Sergei Shamba, the foreign minister of the former Georgian republic.

They will discuss the seventh round of talks between representatives of Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Georgia, Russia, the United States, the EU and OSCE on the situation in the South Caucasus held in Geneva on September 17.

"The participation by Abkhazia, on an equal basis, with Russia and Western partners in Geneva discussions, as well as in joint mechanisms to prevent incidents in border areas and react to them, vividly confirms that Sukhumi's opinion should be further taken into account when considering the region's vitally important issues," Nesterenko said.

Lavrov will also meet with the command of the 7th Russian base and the Russian Federal Security Service border department for Abkhazia.

Russia recognized the independence of the former Georgian republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia last August after a five-day war with Georgia over the latter, which was attacked by Tbilisi in an attempt to bring it back under central control.

Under mutual assistance treaties signed last November, Russia pledged to help South Ossetia and Abkhazia protect their borders. Moscow promised significant financial support to rebuild the republics, which had been de facto independent since the early 1990s.

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