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MOSCOW : The ‘Near Abroad’

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Russian President Boris N. Yeltsin is scheduled to visit Georgia on Wednesday in his first trip to a former Soviet republic since the Dec. 12 Russian parliamentary election.

Georgian leader Eduard A. Shevardnadze said the visit “will signify the recognition of Georgia’s independence,” but Yeltsin’s conduct will be scrutinized for clues about Russia’s new policy toward the nations of the “near abroad.”

Russia has supplied troops to help Shevardnadze put down an armed rebellion, and Georgia has joined the Russian-led Commonwealth of Independent States. The leaders will sign agreements on friendship, free trade and economic cooperation.

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