Georgia-Abkhazia Conflict Must Be Settled before Georgia-Armenia Railway Line across Abkhazia Reopens

Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze announced on Monday, January 20, that his 'Armenian friends' had spoken to him several times about reopening the railway line across Abkhazia, which has been out of use since 1992-1993 as a result of military action.

In an interview with national radio Mr Shevardnadze said that he had spoken to many of those interested in the reopening of the line and had asked them to help find a peaceful settlement to the Georgia-Abkhazia conflict as this would mean that the railway line and the roads between the two countries could be reopened. Mr Shevardnadze added that he is in favour of the railway line across Abkhazia but insists that this will not be possible unless refugees gradually begin to return to their homes. The president has also demanded that the Adler-Sukhumi railway line, which was reopened in December 2002 without Tbilisi's authorization, be closed.

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