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Russia and Georgia hold "productive" talks on the Caucasus

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Russia and Georgia hold "productive" talks on the Caucasus

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EU and UN mediators say there have been “productive discussions” on how to ease tensions in the Caucasus, during the first substantive talks between Russia and Georgia since their August conflict.

An informal working group arrangement allowed representatives of the regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia to take part in the discussions in Geneva.

Their absence led to last month’s first round being abandoned.

Russia sent troops into South Ossetia after Georgia tried to retake the breakaway former Soviet region. Moscow has still not withdrawn the troops it agreed to under an EU-brokered ceasefire.

Observers say the parties set aside discussion of fundamental differences over the status of the two breakaway regions and blame for the outbreak of the conflict.

Instead they tackled practical issues such as improving security along the de facto borders and helping the thousands displaced by the fighting.