Georgia promises not to attack Abkhazia

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Moscow, May 21 (UNI) The confrontation between Russia and Georgia over support to the latters breakaway republic of Abkhazia seems to be boiling down with its ambassdor here assuring that his country does not intend to take any military action against the rebel republic.

''I don't know how I can prove to you that we have no intention of making war. I swear by my mother that we are not going to war,'' Georgian ambassdor Erosi Kitsmarishvili told reporters here yesterday.

However, he said that Georgian unmanned surveillance aircraft would continue to fly over Abkhaz territory, despite objections from the breakaway province.

''Both the president and the defense minister have said [drones] will continue to fly,'' the envoy was quoted as saying by Ria Novosti.

Georgia has accused Russia of trying to annex Abkhazia along with South Ossetia, another Georgian rebel region, while Moscow says Tbilisi is planning to invade Abkhazia.

Abkhazia claims to have shot down several Georgian drones, while Tbilisi says only one aircraft has been lost.

Abkhazia and Russia accuse Georgia of violating a ceasefire agreement signed in Moscow in 1994 and UN Security Council resolution 1808 passed April 15 this year, banning military activity in the conflict zone.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov had yesterday accused Georgia of military action. ''Contrary to the Moscow agreement, Georgia is concentrating its troops on the border with conflict zones, is buying more offensive armaments,'' he said.

Earlier today, Taimuraz Mamsurov, the president of Russia's republic of North Ossetia, asked foreign ambassadors to Russia for assistance in the republic's unification with South Ossetia.

Between 10,000 and 30,000 people were killed in the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict that broke out after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

On the issue of Georgian nod to Russian WTO entry the envoy had said yesterday, ''Tbilisi is ready to support Russia's bid to join the World Trade Organization (WTO) if both countries resolve issues inhibiting bilateral relations.


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