Policy Memos

Options for Resolution of the Conflict in Abkhazia

Policy Memo:

32

Publication Date:

09-1998

Author(s):

Description:

Current prospects for resolving the conflict in the Abkhazia region of Georgia are poor. Framework agreements have been reached, but these merely paper over differences on the central issues at stake: the degree of Abkhaz autonomy, and the return of displaced Georgians to Abkhazia. Neither side shows evidence of good faith or restraint from the use of force; public opinion on both sides is even more hard-line. Russia's closing of Abkhazia's borders to most trade is acting to worsen the conflict, causing public opinion in Abkhazia to harden further while encouraging unrealistic expectations in Georgia which could easily lead to a new war. A more even-handed US position promoting an easing of the Russian blockade on Abkhazia in exchange for Abkhazian concessions, while simultaneously pressuring both sides to compromise, would better promote reconciliation while preserving the principles of territorial integrity and the return of refugees, as well as US economic interests. [...]

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