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Georgia's Shevardnadze Ready to Talk to Kidnappers

President Eduard Shevardnadze said Monday that Georgian authorities were ready to talk to kidnappers demanding $3 million for the release of four United Nations staff. Unidentified gunmen seized three U.N. military observers, two Germans and a Dane, last week along with their Georgian interpreter in a remote gorge on the frontier with the breakaway province of Abkhazia. “Authorities are ready for dialogue and negotiations, even with criminals, to prevent (the observers) being exposed to danger,” Shevardnadze told Georgian radio, adding that a search was continuing and that he had faith in the local population. The observers were part of a 100-strong U.N. team monitoring the border with Abkhazia, which broke away from Georgia in 1993 in a conflict that followed the collapse of the Soviet Union. The men were abducted Thursday while on a routine patrol in the Kodori Gorge, site of several similar kidnappings. Full Story

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