May 18, 2009 / 4:08 PM / 10 years ago

Russia pulls out of Georgia talks -agency report

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia said on Monday it had pulled out of security talks with Georgia, citing the refusal of the Moscow-backed rebel region of Abkhazia to attend.

Delegations from Russia and another Moscow-backed rebel region, South Ossetia, had withdrawn from the talks, Interfax news agency quoted Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin as saying in Geneva.

“To discuss serious questions about security without one of the parties would be a doomed exercise,” Karasin was quoted as saying. “South Ossetia has pulled out of the consultations along with us.”

The talks between Russia, the separatists and Georgia were due to take place in Geneva on Monday and Tuesday. The discussions are co-chaired by the United Nations, the European Union and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

Abkhazia’s separatist foreign minister, Sergei Shamba, told Reuters on Saturday Abkhazia would not take part because it had not yet received a draft report on Abkhazia from U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

Russia and ally Nicaragua recognized Abkhazia and another rebel region, South Ossetia, as independent states last year after a war with Georgia, but the rest of the world still considers the provinces part of Georgia.

Both Abkhazia and South Ossetia broke away from Tbilisi’s rule during wars in the 1990s that followed the collapse of the Soviet Union. Moscow has pledged to deploy military bases in both regions.

Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; editing by Andrew Dobbie

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