Tbilisi Offers Abkhazia Special Status within a Federal State

Tbilisi offers its former autonomy Abkhazia, which broke away from Georgia in a violent armed conflict in the early Nineties, a special status within a federal state and a new version of conflict settlement proposals, Georgia's President Eduard Shevardnadze said in a radio address on Monday.

"The definitive solution to the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict means determination of Abkhazia's status as part of the Georgian state. Our proposal remains in force - we are prepared to study a project of a federal relationship with special rights granted to Abkhazia as a constituent entity of the federation," said Shevardnadze.

He pointed out that the same proposals formed part of the Boden Document, the United-Nations-endorsed conflict settlement plan put together by onetime UN envoy to Georgia Dieter Boden of Germany.

The Georgian President went on to say there was a new version of Georgia's proposal "on the subject of Abkhazia's place as part of Georgia." He noted previous proposals had been developed back in 1998-2000. Thereafter, he said, "a lot of work was done" and "now these proposals look totally different - the vexed issues the Abkhaz were anxious about have all been reworked in a way that would accommodate the Georgians and the Abkhaz alike."