As part of a growing Euro-Atlantic campaign to reduce tensions between Georgia and Russia over the breakaway region of Abkhazia, US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Matthew Bryza traveled to Sukhumi on July 25 to push for Abkhaz participation in international peace talks in Berlin. The trip is the second for the senior American diplomat since May.
The Berlin discussions, tentatively scheduled for this week, would take place within the format of the United Nations Group of Friends of Georgia (Russia, US, United Kingdom, France, Germany), currently chaired by Germany.
In July 26 remarks to reporters at the US Embassy in Tbilisi, Bryza described his meetings with de facto Abkhaz leaders, including Sergei Bagapsh, Sergei Shamba and Stanislav Lakoba as an "amazing day," but avoided commenting on the possible outcome of the talks.
Subsequent consultations were held in Batumi with Georgia’s President Mikheil Saakashvili, State Minister for Territorial Reintegration Temur Iakobashvili, Defense Minister Davit Kezerashvili and Deputy Foreign Minister Giga Bokeria.
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Elizabeth Owen is EurasiaNet's Caucasus news editor, based in Tbilisi.