Sergey Shamba, the foreign minister of breakaway Abkhazia, has accused western members of the so called Group of Friends of bias in mediation in favor of Tbilisi.
“International mediators have again demonstrated their biased attitude that makes us seriously consider the issue of expediency of the Group of Friend’s mediation and participation in the negotiating process,” Shamba told the Abkhaz news agency, Apsnipress, on April 24.
Four members of the UN Secretary General’s Group of Friends on Georgia, dealing with the Abkhaz conflict – U.S., Britain, France and Germany – issued a joint statement on April 23 calling on Russia “to revoke or not to implement its decision” on establishing official ties with Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Russia is also part of the Group of Friends.
President Saakashvili said on April 24 that the joint statement by the four countries was significant for Georgia because “for the first time” the Group of Friends “was divided” with Russia standing alone.
He also said that the position adopted by Georgia’s allies would allow for talks, not only over scrapping the Russian-led peacekeeping operation, but also, as he put it, “increasing the role and the status of friendly states” as mediators in the peace process.