German Chancellor Angela Merkel says her country supports Georgia's
territorial integrity, but she is urging that country to resolve its
territorial disputes before it can move toward NATO membership.
Merkel met Wednesday in Berlin with Georgian President Mikhail
Saakashvili for talks that included efforts to reach a peaceful
settlement of the conflict in Georgia's breakaway region Abkhazia.
broke out in Abkhazia and another breakaway region, South Ossetia,
after they declared independence from Georgia in the 1990s. Russia sent
peacekeepers to the two areas.
Georgia has accused the
peacekeepers of supporting the separatists and Russia of trying to
annex the regions, charges Moscow has denied.
Mr. Saakashvili met with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to
discuss tensions between his country and Russia.
Georgian Reintegration Minister Temur Yakobashvili said any peace
initiatives for settling the regional conflicts are "doomed to failure"
unless Russia withdraws troops recently sent there and ends direct ties
with the separatists.
Georgian authorities insist they will bring both Abkhazia and South Ossetia back under central government control.
Meanwhile, Abkhazian leader Sergey Bagapsh met with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin in Moscow.
Russian foreign ministry said the two sides talked about a possible
resumption of the Georgian-Abkhazian political discussion.
Mr. Bagapsh also asked Russia to tighten sea border security in the zone controlled by the Russian forces.
Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.