Georgian official says Russians walk out of talks

GENEVA (Reuters) - The Russian delegation walked out of security talks with Georgia in Geneva on Monday because the Moscow-backed rebel region of Abkhazia had refused to attend, a Georgian official said.

Georgian Foreign Ministry official Sergi Kapanadze told Reuters the Russian delegation also cited NATO military exercises in Georgia earlier this month as a reason for the walk-out on the first day of two-day talks in the Swiss city.

"We saw the Russian and South Ossetian participants walk out of the talks," Kapanadze said. "The Georgian delegation remains here, hoping to be able to resume tomorrow as planned."

Earlier, Interfax news agency reported Russia called for a halt to the latest session of the talks, convened last year by the European Union and other international bodies after Russia and Georgia fought a short war in August. It said the Russian action was taken because Abkhazia had refused to attend.

(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Andrew Dobbie)

Article Published: 18/05/2009