Tension between Georgia and Abkhazia rises and violence spreads towards South Ossetia

Official Abkhaz sources claim bomb blast killed four, while Tbilisi and Ossetian leaders accuse each other of perpetrating ‘terrorist attacks’ · Germany presents peace proposal for Abkhazia.

Although the international community has called for measures to ease tension in the region - and this wish was reiterated on Monday by the Council of Europe - violence continues between Georgia and the self-proclaimed republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. A recent bomb blast on the border between Abkhazia and Georgia claimed four lives and injured eight. The Abkhaz authorities believe Georgian security forces were behind the explosion.

In recent months all eyes have been on Abkhazia, but Georgia has never stopped putting pressure on South Ossetia, the other de facto independent republic within the Georgian state. Like Abkhazia, South Ossetia claimed independence in the early 1990s and has since enjoyed de facto independence with Russian support.

Last Friday, shots fired by Georgian forces in South Ossetia left two dead and several injured, although Tbilisi denies the accusations and claims the Ossetians first attacked a Georgian checkpoint.

Meanwhile, Monday's issue of Spiegel Onlineclaims that Germany has offered to act as mediator in discussions between Georgia and Russia and has drawn up a peace plan for the former Soviet republic and the self-proclaimed republics. The proposals presented by Berlin to the United Nations consist of three phases, the first of which aims to build confidence between the various parties by, for example, ending violence and allowing refugees to cross from one side of the border to the other. 

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