ITAR-TASS, Russia
April 1 2004

Armenia, Georgia, RF seek to resume railway traffic - official


TBILISI, April 1 (Itar-Tass) - Georgian Security Council secretary
Vano Merabishvili said it is impossible to resume railway traffic to
Armenia from Russia through Georgia without the settlement of the
Abkhazian problem.

After his meeting with visiting Armenian Defence Minister and
Security Council secretary Serzh Sarkisyan on Thursday, Merabishvili
said, `Armenia, Russia and Georgia are interested in resuming railway
traffic. But we believe that it's impossible to immediately solve
this problem because it should be solved in the context of Abkhazian
settlement.'

At the same time, Merabishvili noted that Georgia `urged Armenia to
step up efforts in this direction and use its influence and authority
in Russia in order to solve this problem based on the interests of
Georgia, Armenia and Russia.'

Railway traffic to Armenia from Russia through Georgia's territory
was interrupted in August 1992 after the beginning of the armed
conflict in Abkhazia. According to reports from Georgia, it is
possible to resume railway traffic with the return of refugees to
Abkhazia.

Over 250,000 Abkhazian refugees live in Georgia's different regions.