In a statement to the press, the so-called Group of Friends of Secretary-General Kofi Annan – France, Germany, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States – also welcomed the parties’ participation as a sign of their interest in pursuing a practical approach to outstanding issues related to security and political matters, return of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs), and economic cooperation.“The Friends encouraged the parties to follow up with renewed discussions in the relevant task forces and working groups,” the statement said. They assured the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Georgia, Heidi Tagliavini, of their continued support and reaffirmed the importance of the “Geneva Process” in the Georgian-Abkhaz peace process.The meeting was chaired by the UN Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Jean-Marie Guéhenno, and also heard from a representative of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), who outlined a proposed strategy on promoting solutions to displacement related to Abkhazia, Georgia.

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