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    Georgia says non-violence pact with Abkhazia unnecessary

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    Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili said on Thursday that there was no need for Georgia and its breakaway republic of Abkhazia to sign a non-aggression pact proposed by Russia as the Caucasus state had no plans for an invasion of the region.

    BATUMI, July 17 (RIA Novosti) - Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili said on Thursday that there was no need for Georgia and its breakaway republic of Abkhazia to sign a non-aggression pact proposed by Russia as the Caucasus state had no plans for an invasion of the region.

    "This initiative makes no sense, as Georgia is not planning an attack," Saakashvili told reporters.

    Russia earlier presented a draft resolution to the UN Security Council calling for an agreement on the non-use of force between Georgia and Abkhazia, amid spiraling violence and fears of a new military conflict in the region. The initiative was blocked by Western nations seeking a comprehensive peace deal that stipulated the return of Georgian refugees to Abkhazia.

    Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said earlier on Thursday that the return of refugees was "entirely unrealistic at this stage." He said "the situation first needs to be improved and trust restored."

    Saakashvili called Lavrov's statement "provocative."

    Moscow has accused Tbilisi of attempting to seize Abkhazia and South Ossetia, another rebel region. Georgia has in turn accused Russia of backing the separatists and fueling tension in the region with the ultimate aim of annexing the territories.

    Germany has proposed a three-stage plan for resolving the Georgia-Abkhazia conflict.

    The plan stipulates a commitment to non-violence by all the parties involved in the conflict, the gradual return of Georgian refugees to the region, and the eventual determination of the political status of Abkhazia.

    German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier is currently in Tbilisi discussing the plan with Georgian leaders. He is to fly to Abkhazia on Friday. He will then fly later in the day to Moscow for further talks.

    Around 300,000 Georgians fled fighting in Abkhazia during a 1992-93 separatist war as the republic looked to break away from Tbilisi, according to Georgia's official reports. Some 10,000-30,000 people on both sides were killed in the conflict.

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