Abkhazia Leader Says No Talks With Georgia Without Preconditions


July 31 2007

MOSCOW, July 31 (Itar-Tass) – The head of Georgia’s breakaway region
of Abkhazia, Sergei Bagapsh, categorically dismissed on Tuesday the
possibility of negotiations with Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili
without any precondition, to which Europe is urging.

"This will not happen," he stressed in a newspaper interview. "I
know why they need tete-a-tete talks of the presidents – in order
to say then that Bagapsh and Saakashvili are meeting, and they would
have had normal relations if Russia had not interfered," the Abkhaz
leader stressed.

"We won’t give them such a motive," he said in an interview with the
Kommersant daily on Tuesday.

"After the war we had a constructive dialogue with them, but the
arrival of Saakashvili has put paid to it," he stressed. "These
people don’ t understand that apart from the use of force there
are also negotiations. They don’t understand that South Ossetia and
Abkhazia are not boys in short pants, but full-fledged partners in
negotiations," Bagapsh emphasized.

Bagapsh also specified that Abkhazia does not link "its fight for
independence with the recognition of Kosovo". However, it such decision
on Kosovo is approved, "it will untie the hands of other states for
the recognition of Abkhazia, the Dniester region, Nagorno Karabakh
and South Ossetia," he believes.