on the silk road

Confidence Rises for Ossetia, Abkhazia After Fighting

MOSCOW (Reuters)–Georgia’s efforts to bring the breakaway region of South Ossetia to heel have backfired so drastically that it may have lost control of both it and rebel-held Abkhazia for good. Western diplomats and analysts said Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili has little hope of reasserting his authority in the two regions after his failed invasion of South Ossetia.

A ceasefire agreement to end nearly a week of fighting between Georgian and Russian troops has given a new sense of confidence to the separatists in Abkhazia, and in mountainous South Ossetia and Abkhazia, which hugs the Black Sea.

Sergei Shamba, the foreign minister of Abkhazia, told Reuters that Georgia should now accept it is a separate country.

“We have held talks with Georgia for 15 years and now we will only talk with them after recognition of our independence,” Shamba said. “There have been several drafts and they rejected them all. It’s clear to me that it’s pointless talking to them.”

South Ossetian President Eduard Kokoity made similar independence demands on Wednesday, Russian media reported.

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