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U.N. Sending Observers to Rebel Georgia Region Despite Truce Violations

July 31, 1993|From Associated Press

TBILISI, Georgia — Increasingly serious cease-fire violations in the rebel province of Abkhazia will not deter the United Nations from sending observers to the Black Sea province, officials said Friday.

"The early deployment of international military observers would make it more difficult for violations to occur," said Eduard Brunner, the U.N. special envoy to Georgia.

He spoke with reporters after a trip to Sukhumi, capital of the secessionist province and the only important town in Abkhazia still in Georgian hands.

Russia brokered the cease-fire during a weeks-long siege of Sukhumi. The cease-fire began at noon Wednesday, but there have been persistent reports of violations.

At least 2,000 people have died in the civil war, and tens of thousands have fled their homes. The conflict began 11 months ago when Georgian leader Eduard A. Shevardnadze sent thousands of troops into Abkhazia after the separatist minority there declared independence.

The Security Council has already approved the deployment of 50 observers, which would be the largest such contingent in the former Soviet Union, and Brunner said the contingent might be increased to as many as 90.

Russia, Georgia and Abkhazia have also agreed to deploy observers in the truce zone.

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