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    Int. talks on Russia-Georgia war suspended, to resume 18 Nov. - 2

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    International talks in Geneva on the recent Russia-Georgia armed conflict were suspended on Wednesday over "procedural difficulties," and will resume on November 18, a European Union diplomat said.

    (Writes through with Georgian and Russian comments, details)

    GENEVA, October 15 (RIA Novosti) - International talks in Geneva on the recent Russia-Georgia armed conflict were suspended on Wednesday over "procedural difficulties," and will resume on November 18, a European Union diplomat said.

    Pierre Morel said the talks had "encountered procedural difficulties," without elaborating further, and that all parties concerned had decided to suspend the meeting.

    The talks were to focus on security arrangements for Georgia's rebel republics Abkhazia and South Ossetia, as well as on Georgian and Western concerns over the Russian military presence in the region.

    Russia and Georgia fought a five-day war after Georgia attacked South Ossetia on August 8.

    Moscow subsequently launched a military operation to "force Georgia to peace."

    Two weeks after the conclusion of the operation, Russia recognized South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states. The majority of residents of the two republics have had Russian citizenship for a number of years.

    The Geneva talks were designed to follow up on the cease-fire deal brokered by French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

    Johan Verbeke, the UN secretary general's special representative for Georgia, warned against overdramatizing events at the beginning of talks, saying that all the parties to the conflict had come to Geneva and set out their cases. "The process is on track," he said.

    Meanwhile, Georgia's president, Mikheil Saakashvili, accused Russia of walking out of the talks, Reuters reported.

    "Russia has just walked out of the Geneva talks ... which basically means that Russia has no interest whatsoever at this stage in any diplomatic process," he told reporters in Brussels.

    However, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin, who led the Russian delegation, called Saakashvili's statement "a lie" and said the event was broken up by Georgia, which refused to take part in the second plenary session.

    Karasin explained that two sessions had been scheduled for Wednesday and the Russian delegation refused to attend the first because representatives from Abkhazia and S. Ossetia were not invited to participate.

    Georgia refused to take part in the second session, which involved all the sides in the conflict and the intermediaries - the UN, the EU, and the United States.

    Abkhazia's foreign minister said the republic "was not satisfied with the status" it was offered at the talks. Sergei Shamba said Georgia refused to treat Abkhazia as an equal partner, and the meetings were not attended by Georgia.

    "There were two separate meetings," Shamba said.

    South Ossetia's acting prime minister, Boris Chochiyev, also said the republic's and Russian representatives did not meet with the Georgians in Geneva.

    "What can one talk about with them [the Georgians]? No, we did not have any discussions," Chochiyev said.

    The participation of Abkhazia and South Ossetia in the talks was a last-minute decision, taken after repeated demands by Russia that representatives of the republics be invited to attend.

    The meetings in Geneva were hosted by the European Union, the United Nations and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

    The United States, which has backed its ally Georgia throughout the crisis, was represented by a delegation led by Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Fried.

    Karasin also said that during Wednesday's talks the U.S. supported a Russian proposal to adopt a document on the non-use of force in the Caucasus, which Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili has been refusing to sign for many years.

    "Another priority is to reach an agreement prohibiting the deliveries of offensive arms to Georgia," he added.

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