Lavrov Wants ‘Equal Status’ for Sokhumi, Tskhinvali at Geneva Talks
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 10 Nov.'08 / 12:19

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that representatives from South Ossetian and Abkhazia should participate in the Geneva talks, planned for November 18, as equals with all the rest.

“The Geneva meeting, envisaged by the Medvedev-Sarkozy agreement, is dedicated to ensuring security in the region and without equal participation of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, these talks cannot be fruitful,” Interfax news agency quoted Lavrov as saying on November 9.

Tbilisi, however, claims that only the Georgian, Russian and U.S. representatives should participate in the official part of talks, while the separatists can participate in informal meetings of working groups over security and return of internally displaced persons.

The Russian Foreign Ministry reported that Sergey Lavrov met with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in Sharm El-Sheikh on November 8 and along with other issues discussed the current situation in Georgia.

“The sides stressed the necessity for preventing further aggravation of the situation in Abkhazia and South Ossetia,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

In Sharm El-Sheikh Lavrov also held talks with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and discussed future activities of the UN observers in Abkhazia.

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