Georgia appealed to the international community on Sunday to help stop fighting in its breakaway Abkhazia region, which threatens to reignite a bloody post-Soviet ethnic conflict.

"Tensions have reached a climax," said a statement issued by the foreign ministry in the capital Tbilisi, where the interior and defence ministers have said their forces are on full alert.The clashes, between Abkhaz forces and Georgian irregulars, are the worst since an all-out war that killed some 10,000 people in 1992-93.