ABKHAZ PRESIDENTIAL HOPEFULS TO APPEAR IN MOSCOW? THEY MAY, SAYS DUMA BOSS

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MOSCOW, December 7 (RIA Novosti) - Sergei Bagapsh and Raul Khajimba may come to Moscow to have meetings with Russian political leaders and activists. Sergei Baburin, State Duma Deputy Speaker, does not rule out the prospect. He said so to a news conference as soon as he came back to Moscow from Abkhazia. Mr. Baburin had mediated talks between the presidential hopefuls of Georgia's self-proclaimed republic.

"Moscow may eventually host Messrs. Bagapsh's and Khajimba's conferences with a wide range of political activists and journalists. These conferences would make everyone see that the compromise between them is genuine, whatever complications it might imply," remarked the Vice-Speaker of Russia's lower parliamentary house.

Sergei Bagapsh and Raul Khajimba are not to be expected to Moscow before next week, he added.

An agreement at which they arrived yesterday to meet each other halfway found Abkhazia on the brink of civil war. An armed conflict was warded off by sheer miracle, the MP emphatically said.

Some people are still anxious to see Abkhazia destabilised, and they may now torpedo the understanding, warned Mr. Baburin.

He complimented Georgia on reserved stances in the confrontation that was raging round the Abkhaz presidential poll. Georgia has earned his profound respect, said the Russian parliamentarian.

As yesterday's agreement has it, Sergei Bagapsh and Raul Khajimba will be running in a repeated poll in tandem-for presidency and vice-presidency, respectively. The election is to be appointed for no later than January 13.

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