Post-Soviet separatist leaders plan meet

Agence France Presse -- English
June 1, 2005 Wednesday 4:22 PM GMT

MOSCOW June 1 -- Leaders of separatist regions tacitly backed by Russia
in several former Soviet republics plan to meet later this month to
"coordinate" their campaigns for independence, the top official from
the breakaway South Ossetia region in Georgia said here Wednesday.

"This is not just to see each other but to reinforce the foundations
of our states and to coordinate our actions," Eduard Kokoity, the
"president" of South Ossetia, was quoted by ITAR-TASS news agency
as saying.

He said the meeting would group the leaders of South Ossetia and
Abkhazia, another separatist part of Georgia, as well as those of
Nagorny Karabakh, a territory occupied by Armenia but located inside
Azerbaijan, and Transdniestr, a Russian-speaking breakaway region
in Moldova.

Kokoity did not specify a time or place for the meeting.

"There are forces trying to disrupt our relations," he said. "I think
they will not succeed."

His comments came a week after Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili
called on leaders in Abkhazia and South Ossetia to drop their drive
for independence and return to Georgia.