Abkhazia should agree to accept Georgian refugees

The Georgian minister for conflict settlement said Thursday that Georgia's breakaway republic of Abkhazia should agree to the return of Georgian refugees.

"We want the Abkhazian side to recognize the refugees' right to return [to Abkhazia]. So far, we have not noticed any understanding of the kind on Abkhazia's part," Georgy Khaindrava said after the first round of Georgian-Abkhazian talks ended in the Russian Black sea resort of Sochi.

During the Georgian-Abkhazian conflict of 1992-93, more than 300,000 people, including 240,000 ethnic Georgians, fled Abkhazia. Tbilisi said about 40,000 people had since returned. Abkhazian officials put the number at 60,000, the RIA Novosti reports.

The current talks are being attended by Abkhazian Foreign Minister Sergei Shamba, the Russian Foreign Ministry's Ambassador at large Mikhail Bocharnikov and the UN secretary general's special representative for Georgia Heidi Tagliavini.

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