UN Secretary General’s Group of Friends met in Geneva on February 18-19 to discuss the Abkhaz conflict. Temur Iakobashvili, the Georgian state minister for reintegration and Sergey Shamba, the breakaway region’s foreign minister, also attended the meeting.
Iakobashvili told the Tbilisi-based Mze TV in a phone conversation that Russia showed “constructive role” during the meeting. He also said that the Georgian side put forth number of economic-related initiatives during the talks.
The Russian Foreign Ministry reported on February 20 that the Group of Friends, which includes Germany, France, Great Britain, Russia and the United States, stressed the necessity for immediate reaching an agreement on non-resumption of hostilities and return of refugees.
Abkhaz news agency, Apsnipress, reported on February 20 that during meeting Sergey Shamba raised the issue of Kosovo’s independence, saying that the international community should revise its stance towards Abkhazia.
“The mediators of the negotiating process should acknowledge that recognition of the right to independence is as necessary as the right to territorial integrity,” Shamba said. “Unless this happens, they cannot be unbiased mediators and we actually consider them as Georgia’s friends.”