Medvedev Meets Abkhaz Leader

President Dmitry Medvedev on Thursday met with the leader of Georgia's breakaway province of Abkhazia, which recently has been the focus of rising tensions in the region.

Medvedev and Sergei Bagapsh, Abkhazia's separatist president, discussed issues related to settlement of the conflict, the Kremlin said in a terse statement.

"Bagapsh underlined the outstanding role of Russian peacekeepers in ensuring security in the conflict zone and thanked the Russian Federation for supporting the population of Abkhazia and helping solve socio-economic and humanitarian problems," the statement said.

Russia does not formally recognize Abkhazia's separatist government, but Moscow has peacekeeping forces there, maintains close contacts with Abkhazia's government and has granted Russian passports to most of the province's residents.