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EU Warns Russian Parliament on Georgia's Abkhazia Region


A top European Union official has told Russian lawmakers their country's actions in Georgia's breakaway republic of Abkhazia are threatening regional stability

EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner told the lower house of Russia's parliament (the Duma) that the European bloc is concerned about stability ahead of the 2014 Winter Olympics in the southern Russian resort of Sochi.

Bilateral tensions have risen dramatically since April, when Moscow announced it was boosting material support and its military presence in Abkhazia.

Since then, the United Nations determined that a Russian jet fighter intentionally shot down a Georgian reconnaissance aircraft over Abkhazia. Georgia has demanded an apology.

In a bid to lower tensions, EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana is to visit Georgia Thursday to try to bring about talks between Moscow and Tbilisi.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe has voiced full support for Georgian sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders.

Abkhazia declared independence from Georgia in the early 1990s, sparking fighting and the dispatch of Russian peacekeepers to the region. Georgia has accused the peacekeepers of backing separatists and has pledged to bring the territory back under central government control.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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