11 April 2005

UN “Group of Friends” Meets in Geneva to Review Georgia-Abkhazia Peace Process

NEW YORK, 8 April (UN Headquarters) -- The following, on the high-level meeting of the Group of Friends of the Secretary-General in Geneva, 7-8 April, was issued today by the Spokesman for UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan:

On 7 and 8 April 2005, high-level representatives of the Group of the Friends of the Secretary-General (Germany, France, Russian Federation, United Kingdom, and the United States) met in Geneva to review the state of the Georgian-Abkhaz peace process.  The meeting was chaired by the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for peacekeeping. The Special Representative of the Secretary General for Georgia also participated.  Representatives of the Georgian and Abkhaz sides participated in part of the meeting.  A representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees took part in the discussions and outlined a proposed strategy on promoting solutions to displacement related to Abkhazia, Georgia.

The Friends welcomed the participation of the parties as an indication of their commitment to a peaceful settlement of the conflict and the interest of the parties in pursuing a practical approach to outstanding issues related to security and political matters, return of refugees and internally-displaced persons, and economic cooperation.  The Friends encouraged the parties to follow up with renewed discussions in the relevant task forces and working groups.

The Friends assured the Special Representative of the Secretary-General of their continued support and reaffirmed the importance of the “Geneva Process” in the Georgian Abkhaz peace process.

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