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    Sukhumi says Tbilisi's plan to divide Abkhazia 'insane'

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    Abkhazia's leadership considers Tbilisi's proposed plan to divide the unrecognized republic into zones of Russian and Georgian influence to be "insane," the republic's foreign minister said on Friday.

    MOSCOW, June 27 (RIA Novosti) - Abkhazia's leadership considers Tbilisi's proposed plan to divide the unrecognized republic into zones of Russian and Georgian influence to be "insane," the republic's foreign minister said on Friday.

    A Russian business daily, Kommersant, citing sources in the Georgian leadership and the Russian Foreign Ministry, said Georgia had proposed to Russia an array of measures to resolve the Georgian-Abkhazian conflict by dividing the breakaway republic into a large Russian zone and a small Georgian zone with the restoration of Georgia's sovereignty over the territory.

    "I would not like to comment on the absurd plans that are being made," Sergei Shamba said. "They [Georgia] are incapable of taking a sensible view of the situation, and are proposing some fantastically insane plans."

    He said such a plan could only be carried out by "conducting a military operation, pulverizing Abkhazia, and destroying its people."

    "If we are not agreeing to broad autonomy for the entire Abkhazian territory, how can we possibly agree to hand over half of our territory and accept self-governance status on the other half as a part of Georgia?" he said.

    Abkhazia broke away from Georgia in the early 1990s following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Between 10,000 and 30,000 people were killed in the subsequent hostilities.

    Relations between Russia and Georgia have been strained in recent months, since Russia stepped up support for Abkhazia and sent more peacekeeping troops into the region. Tbilisi has accused the Kremlin of trying to annex the territory and shooting down an unmanned reconnaissance plane.

    Moscow has repeatedly dismissed Tbilisi's claims that it is seeking to annex Abkhazia and has condemned Georgia's policy toward the rebel region, which Russia says could lead to new bloodshed.

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