U.S. envoy arrives in Abkhazia

May 11, 2008 at 1:23 AM

SUKHUMI, Georgia, May 11 (UPI) -- A U.S. envoy arrived Saturday in the breakaway region of Abkhazia in Georgia in an effort to find a peaceful solution to the impasse there.

Matthew Bryza, U.S. deputy assistant secretary for European and Eurasian affairs, met with Sergei Bagapsh, the president of Abkhazia, and Foreign Minister Sergei Shamba, RIA Novosti reported.

Abkhazia declared independence from Georgia soon after the collapse of the Soviet Union. But it has not been recognized by any country, although the Georgian government accuses Russia of backing nationalists in Abkhazia and its other breakaway region, South Ossetia, in order to annex them, the Russian news agency noted.

The Russian government recently increased the size of its military contingent in Abkhazia from 2,000 to 3,000. Georgia has called for an international peacekeeping force to replace the Russians.

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