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Georgia Affirms Readiness to Take Part in Geneva Talks

Georgia's Foreign Ministry is rejecting Russian charges that the country is blocking planned talks on security in the Caucasus later this month.

A ministry statement Monday said Georgia is fully prepared to take part in the talks scheduled for November 18 and blamed Russia for the stalemate in the earlier round of discussions in Geneva held on October 15.

Both Georgian and Russian delegates walked out of inaugural talks in Geneva earlier this month, after Georgia objected to Russian demands for the presence of separatist representatives at the session.

The United Nations, the European Union and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe organized the closed-door meeting in the hope of easing tensions created by the five-day Russian-Georgian military conflict in August over the breakaway pro-Russian region of South Ossetia.

Russian troops swept into Georgia August 7, as Georgia tried to retake control of South Ossetia by force.

Russia has withdrawn from the undisputed part of Georgia, in line with a French-brokered cease-fire. But Georgia continues to protest Russia's decision to recognize South Ossetia and another breakaway region, Abkhazia, as independent states, as well as Russia's insistence on stationing troops there indefinitely.