Wednesday, 22 December 2010

President received Turkey's Abkhaz Diaspora representatives

December 21, SUKHUM -- Today President Sergey Bagapsh has received representatives of the Turkey’s Abkhaz Diaspora engaged in construction business in the cities of Adapazari, Izmir and Duzce - Aluk Tsugba, Emir Zhiba, Ezgur Argun and Chaataya Khvatysh.

Businessmen, representing the leading construction companies from Turkey, expressed readiness to support their historical Motherland in the sphere of construction. “We have all possibilities both financial and technical for this”, Aluk Tsugba said at the meeting with the President.

Representatives of construction firms presented to the President a booklet with the properties they have built in Turkey.

Welcoming the guests, Sergey Bagapsh said a state cannot develop without economy. “Our country’s independence was recognized two years and a half ago. And now we need serious work of both the citizens of Abkhazia living here, and the Abkhaz, being beyond the bounds of their Motherland”, the President said.

The President emphasized that the Russian Federation renders much aid and support to Abkhazia. “Russia renders free aid of RUB 11 bln. to Abkhazia. On these funds we restore roads, we build kindergartens, we repair schools, hospitals, we put the water and power supply systems in order. In the first place we need to restore this infrastructure to begin construction work”, the President said.

The head of state briefed on the planned large-scale work on rehabilitating the railway and the airport, building a road connecting Abkhazia and Karachay-Cherkessia, supplying Abkhazia with gas. According to Bagapsh, there’s also much to do in agriculture. He suggested that businessmen should decide, what specific areas they would like to work in. “If there is a wish to build a factory, a plant, to be engaged in agriculture –no problem”, Bagapsh said.

Speaking about the Turkish-Abkhaz relations, Sergey Bagapsh said he understands the position of Turkey, which is a NATO power. “And, nevertheless, Turkey is our nearest neighbor, some day mutual relations between our countries will be established anyway”, the President said.

A MP Taali Khvatysh, who accompanied the delegation, said he had returned to his Motherland 10 years before and he was not sorry about it. “I believe that every Abkhaz wherever he is, should think of how to return here and to help restore the country’s economy”, he said.


Sunday, 19 December 2010

Powder, Beach and Chachliks

Powder, Beach and Chachliks from Jean-Marc Wyss on Vimeo.

Another great place on earth to ride! At the south of the Caucasus range, between Russia and Georgia, is Abkhazia. Small republic since 2008, this new country hope to get a place in the world, free from his powerful neighbours. Overpowdered white mountains are facing the Black Sea, the palms trees are shaked by strong winds while the snow is covering the summits. A group of swiss and french skiers&snowboarders went to explore this unknown region, discovering early March unbelievable snow conditions, so far from every expectations. If you wish more details about this trip, go to espace-heliski.com. We will be pleased to give you all informations you need, and organize you next ski trip.

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Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Sergey Bagapsh received EU Special Representative for South Caucasus Peter Semnebi

December 14, SUKHUM -- Today the President of Abkhazia Sergey Bagapsh has received the EU Special Representative for South Caucasus Peter Semnebi. A frank exchange of view took place on the situation in the process of negotiations, first of all, in the format of Geneva discussions. The President of Abkhazia said the atmosphere around the Georgian-Abkhaz settlement in the light of reaction of the European political circles and the US Senate to the Georgia’s President Saakashvili’s declarations, forces Abkhazia to essentially modify its position.

This applies to possible cooperation of the Abkhaz party with the European structures not only in the political, but also in the humanitarian sphere. According to the President, the attempt to divide cooperation for a political and humanitarian aspect does not lead to positive results. “We can see politically poorly-thought out and committed actions of European structures supporting Georgia, despite the tragical events which the Georgian party is responsible for”, Sergey Bagapsh said.

The President of Abkhazia reaffirmed to the EU Mission his position in relation to the so-called "peace initiatives of Tbilisi”. The experience of relations with Georgia proves the contrary to the Abkhaz party. That’s why Sukhum cannot trust any Saakashvili's declarations until Abkhazia receives clear acknowledgement of Georgia’s readiness to sign an Agreement on the non-renewal of hostilities with international guarantees. An official letter with the Abkhazia’s position on this matter has been already sent to the UN Secretary General, Sergey Bagapsh said.

The head of state also notified the delegation on the intention to start creating full-fledged border infrastructure on the river Ingur in the near future.


Tuesday, 14 December 2010

WikiLeaks: 'Left with Russia, Abkhaz Looking for Daylight'

Civil Georgia, December 12, 2010 -- A senior U.S. diplomat was told by his counterparts from EU last year to press Georgia to work with Abkhazians, as "they are looking for some daylight with the Russians", according to leaked U.S. diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks.

The confidential memo from the U.S. embassy in Stockholm records a July 9, 2009 meeting between U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Philip Gordon and five EU foreign policy diplomats.

According to the cable, Helga Schmid, who at the time was head of policy planning unit at the General Secretariat of EU Council, told Gordon "to press Georgia to work with the Abkhaz."

"The Abkhaz have been rebuffed in their overtures to the Georgians, and are left with no option but to seek Russia’s support," Schmid told Gordon, according to the cable.

Schmid is now deputy secretary generals of EU's new diplomatic service - European External Action Service (EEAS).

According to the cable, during the same meeting another European diplomat from EU's external relations commission, Karel Kovanda, told Gordon about the need to reach out to the Abkhazians.

"They are looking for some daylight with the Russians, and we should help," the European diplomat is cited in the cable.

In December, 2009 EU elaborated engagement and non-recognition policy towards Georgia's two breakaway regions, which aims at creating space for interacting with these regions, but without thier recognition.

In September, 2009 the Georgian government announced about the plan to develop a strategy for engagement with the two regions, which eventually resulted in adoption of the State Strategy on Occupied Territories in January, 2010 and its Action Plan six months later.

According to the same cable Gordon told EU diplomats, that Georgia was "a good example" of the U.S. not compromising its principles in the name of better relations with Russia.

"The Russians are testing the Obama Administration to see if it will compromise; it will not," Gordon said, according to the cable.


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Monday, 13 December 2010

Geopolitics For Dummies: What Does The Collapse Of The Soviet Union Really Mean? By Eugene Ivanov

The Ivanov Report, December 13, 2010 -- Regardless of how one would characterize the collapse of the Soviet Union -- as the "greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century" or just its "major geopolitical disaster" -- everyone appears to agree that it was one of the 20th century's most fateful geopolitical events. Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin once called it a "genuine drama" for the Russian nation. In contrast, many in the West celebrated the disappearance of the Soviet Union as a Cold War trophy and a sign of the "end of history."

While the fact that the Soviet Union has "collapsed" is not in dispute, little attention is being paid to what the Soviet Union, the Union of the Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), actually was. The only thing everyone seems to remember is that the USSR was composed of 15 so-called Soviet Socialist Republics (SSR). So when the USSR was "collapsing", the "collapse" was supposed to proceed precisely along the borders separating the SSRs, resulting in the creation of 15 newly independent states. Can it get any simpler than that?

Not so fast. In 1991, the Soviet Union was a true administrative monster that held together as many as 173 different territorial entities: 15 above-mentioned SSRs, 20 Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republics (ASSRs, parts of SSRs), 8 autonomous regions, 114 regions, 6 territories ("край"), and 10 autonomous districts.

Countless changes to this administrative puzzle have occurred in almost 70 years (1922-1991) that the Soviet Union was in existence: new districts, regions and republics emerged and then disappeared with the speed of images on a slide show; borders between entities were drawn and redrawn, and then redrawn again, by a restless hand of a mysterious artist; shuffling smaller "republics" between bigger ones was taking place almost as often as shuffling cards in professional poker. Just a few examples. In 1936, the Kazakh and Kyrgyz ASSRs ceased being parts of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (RSFSR), the largest SSR in the USSR, and were "upgraded" to the Kazakh and Kyrgyz SSRs, while the Karakalpak ASSR was transferred from the RSFSR to the Uzbek SSR. In the 1950's, a swath of RSFSR territories bordering the Kazakh SSR went under the Kazakh SSR's jurisdiction. In 1954, the Ukraine SSR got a gift from the RSFSR: Crimea (the Crimea region of the RSFSR).

Think about that for a moment. Crimea has been an intrinsic part of Russia for almost 200 years, with the Russian Empire spending blood and treasure, during the Crimean War of 1853-1856, to keep the peninsula within its borders. And then, a Communist apparatchik, Nikita Khrushchev, following the best traditions of the Soviet Union's arbitrariness, just transferred Crimea from Russia proper to Ukraine. (The reason for Khrushchev's decision -- to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the reunification of Ukraine with Russia -- sounds especially absurd today.) Is it not incumbent upon anyone who wants to put away the legacy of the Soviet Union to condemn this act of supreme state stupidity (the term "state treason" would perhaps be more appropriate) and to demand that Crimea be returned to where it truly belongs: in Russia?

Granted, the borders of some Soviet Socialist Republics -- the three Baltic SSRs (Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania) come to mind first -- did reflect historically established demarcations between stable and mature nations. But others did not. Instead, they were created by the malicious mind of the world's most creative nation builder, Josef Stalin. Take the Georgian SSR. This product of Stalin's imaginative cartography included the Abkhaz ASSR and South Ossetia autonomous region, both placed under Georgian rule in contradiction to historic and common sense and despite protestations by both the Abkhaz and Ossetian people. So when in 1991, Georgia declared its independence from the Soviet Union, both Abkhazia and South Ossetia rightfully demanded their independence from Georgia. They won it, after an armed rebellion, in 1992-1993. But the Western governments have refused to accept their de facto independence. Western strategists apparently believed that in this part of the Soviet Union, its "collapse" should be partial, so that Georgia's independence from the USSR was legitimate, despite the fact that Georgia joined the USSR voluntarily, but the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia from Georgia was not, despite the fact that both entities were made part of Georgia by Stalin's order.

Our Secretary of State ought to consider this the next time she articulates U.S. policy in the region. The Madam Secretary should remember that by vowing to uphold Georgia's "territorial integrity", she is attempting to preserve the legacy of the Soviet Union (and fulfill the dreams of its bloody dictator).

(The Soviet Union is hardly the only place where creative geopolitical cartography was applied. The West applauded the "collapse" of Yugoslavia, a mini-"evil empire" for many. But for the NATO strategists, the "collapse" was not complete enough, so NATO took away, by brutal force, Kosovo from Serbia. But when Serbs in Western Kosovo wanted to join their compatriots in Serbia to stop the ethnic cleansing at the hands of the Kosovars, the West cried foul and vowed to uphold the "territorial integrity" of the narcomafia heaven that contemporary Kosovo is.)

It will take time to heal all the wounds -- political, economic, social, cultural, and physological -- the precipitious and disorderly disintegration of the Soviet Union has caused to Russia and its people. It will also take time to fully understand what the Soviet Union was and was not in the history of the Russian state. The burden of this work lies on the shoulders of the Russians themselves. But we in the West can help, too. First, by accepting that today's Russia is not a Soviet Union and will never be one. Second, by realizing that the "collapse" of the Soviet Union is still going on, and we can't just end its history by whim.


Friday, 10 December 2010

Meeting of Maxim Gunjia with deputies of the Parliament of Dominican Republic

SUKHUM -- On December 9, 2010 Maxim Gunjia the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Abkhazia met with deputies of the Parliament of Dominican Republic Ramon Fernandez and Francisco Matos.

A number of issues linked with perspectives of cooperation of both countries in different spheres were discussed. The deputies expressed their impressions during their visit in Abkhazia and marked beauty and hidden potential of the Republic. They underlined, that two countries had a lot of common and that circle of eventual cooperation is very wide in the future.

Maxim Gundjia told to the guests about the history of Abkhazia, national liberation movement and present socio-economic situation in the region. The Minister emphasized that countries of the Latin America are very like by spirit and Abkhazia will develop very close and friendly relations.

The deputies thanked the Minister for invitation and in response invited the Abkhazian delegation to visit the Dominican Republic for regulation of inter-Parliamentary relationship.

Source: MFA Abkhazia

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Is Everything Good for the U.S. Good for Georgia, and Vice Versa? By Justin Logan

The National Interest, December 8, 2010

One of the tropes of the Washington foreign-policy commentariat that I, and I imagine other realists, find most vexing is the tendency to assume that All Good Things Go Together. What is good for Washington is also good, by definition, for all of Washington’s allies, for the spread of freedom, economic growth, and democracy throughout the world, and for a variety of other purposes.

Invading Iraq, we were told, was not just smart for our national-security interests, but it would also be good for Iraqis because it would replace Saddam Hussein with a liberal democracy. This, in turn, would be good for the region because of the salutary effect such an example would have for other people living under other despotic regimes there, which would then have positive effects for the world at large, because, as we all are supposed to understand, the spread of democracy is by definition coextensive with the spread of peace.

Of course, it has not worked out that way. But one sees the same sort of thinking on display almost daily in Washington’s foreign policy debates.

Take, for example, the discussion in this article by Josh Rogin about the WikiLeaked documents involving Georgia, Russia, and the “reset” of U.S.-Russia relations. The central point of the article is this statement by U.S. Ambassador to Russia John Beyrle in June 2009:
A decision to move towards a more robust military relationship with Georgia will imperil our efforts to re-start relations with Russia. Our assessment is that if we say “yes” to a significant military relationship with Tbilisi, Russia will say “no” to any medium-term diminution in tensions, and feel less constrained absent reverting to more active opposition to critical U.S. strategic interests.
Beyrle acknowledges that the Georgian government likely would prefer to be sold arms from the United States, but argues that such a preference is actually in opposition to Georgia’s true interests, because arms sales would make Georgia less safe from Russia, not more:
From our vantage point, a burgeoning military supply relationship with Georgia is more of a liability for Georgia than a benefit. We recognize that our suggested approach would be deeply dissatisfying to Saakashvili, but we see ... no way to neutralize the advantages of geography, size, and capabilities enjoyed by Russia.
The implicit idea here is that Saakashvili is reckless and that arms sales would raise the likelihood of reckless behavior on his part, which would be bad for him, bad for Georgia, and bad for us. In the same article, Samuel Charap, associate director for the Russia and Eurasia program at the Center of for American Progress, agrees and expands on the logic, making two separate (or separable) points:
Instead of the argument of whether we can fulfill this desire of the Georgian government, we have to step back and say “what is the U.S. interest here?” There's no such thing as a military balance or a military deterrent in this case.
And then, more broadly:
The reset protects Georgia because Russia now has a whole lot more to lose. Before, nobody in Moscow was going to think “what will they think in Washington?” because they didn't care. Now they care.
The first point is a breath of fresh air: The question is not whether we can do what a client state wants us to do, but what we should want to do. Amen. But on the second point, if a client state wants us to do something that we’ve decided isn’t in our best interests, then maybe we have conflicting interests and should reassess the relationship, right?

No. Instead we assert that the client state is misperceiving its interests and instead will benefit from our unapologetically pursuing our own interests.

U.S. policymakers in the Obama administration appear to have decided—correctly, in my view—that the marginal benefits to us of somewhat warmer relations with Russia outweigh the potential benefits of policies designed to bring Georgia under the American security umbrella. That is the sort of calculation that they ought to be making, and there is no need to apologize for thinking in those terms.

But neither is there any need to gussy up our perception of our interests as being somehow identical to Georgia’s interests. Were I a Georgian foreign policy adviser, I would be pushing as hard as I could for the U.S. to sell arms, send military advisers, and beef up its diplomatic presence, as well as for NATO to grant a Membership Action Plan for ultimate accession to the Alliance, and every other benefit I could get.

In my view, that’s what the Georgians should be doing, whereas Washington should be opposing all of those policies. We have different interests. In a better world, instead of arguing that America’s interests are the world’s interests, we would simply acknowledge that our interests are not always in the interests of others whom we may wish well. We have every right to our interests, and they have every right to theirs. But the two are not necessarily coextensive.


Wednesday, 8 December 2010

The Ghosts of Abkhazia, by Thomas de Waal

The National Interest, December 7, 2010 -- I slept badly in the Hotel Ritsa in Abkhazia. I had an unsettling dream in which I walked through an old house with an elderly Stalin, muttering malevolently to himself. In the morning, wondering who had disturbed my sleep, I had a long list of suspects from the other world.

Many of Abkhazia’s numerous ghosts must live within the walls of this whitewashed hotel. A convalescent Trotsky lived here in 1924 and gave a valedictory speech for Lenin from the first-floor balcony on the day of his old comrade’s funeral. Or I could have slept in the room of another of Stalin’s victims, the poet Osip Mandelstam. In 1993 the hotel produced more ghosts when it was burned to the ground in Abkhaz-Georgian fighting. It has only recently been rebuilt.

Pretty much everything about the past, present and future of Abkhazia is disputed. That includes the name of its capital city which the Georgians and most of the world still calls by the Georgian name Sukhumi and the Abkhaz call Sukhum. This is a city of absences. In the mid-nineteenth century, Abkhaz were deported to the Ottoman Empire for rebelling against the Imperial Russian Army. From 1877 to 1907 those who remained were banned from living in the city or along the Black Sea coast. Georgians, Greeks and Russians settled in their stead, shifting the demographic balance against the indigenous Abkhaz. In 1949 the Greeks were expelled en masse to Kazakhstan in one of the crazy Stalinist deportations. In 1992 most of the Abkhaz fled the city when the Georgian armed forces captured it, and the following year almost all the Georgians fled when the Abkhaz recaptured it. Seventeen years on, despite an influx of Russian money and a new crop of cafes and shops and reopening hotels, the streets of Sukhum(i) are still disfigured with ruins.

So anyone who talks about the history of Abkhazia should tread carefully. But that didn’t deter Russian parliamentarian Konstantin Zatulin from striding in here in boots and spurs. Zatulin, the mustachioed first deputy chairman of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) Committee in the State Duma, looks and sounds like a czarist officer and subtlety is not his strong point. He is one of those who actively promoted Russian recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia and hailed the August 2008 war as a victory over the West. But he failed to notice the small detail that Abkhaz are pro-Russian much more by necessity than by natural enthusiasm. And when he criticized the textbook written by Abkhaz historian Stanislav Lakoba being taught in local schools, he hit a nerve.

Zatulin publicly castigated Lakoba for his textbook and insisted that Abkhaz had entered into “voluntary union” with the Russian empire in 1810 and always lived in harmony with Russians. After months of criticism, Lakoba responded with a magisterial article entitled “Zatulinism” in which he declared of the Russian parliamentarian, “Abkhazia can be congratulated. She now has a political censor.” In his article Lakoba firmly states that Russia is now Abkhazia’s main ally and should remain so, but he fires a warning shot against those Russians who, in his judgment, are repeating the Georgians’ error of assuming that the Abkhaz want to be part of their project and not have a project of their own: “Someone thought the Abkhaz people were too free and evidently decided to weaken and curb them, by depriving them of the main thing they have, their history.”

It is a mistake to criticize Lakoba here, because he bears the totemic name of his relative Nestor Lakoba, the popular Bolshevik leader who won Abkhazia a high level of autonomy and spared it from collectivization, before being poisoned by Stalin’s chief henchman, Lavrenty Beria. Nothing so dramatic will happen with the younger Lakoba, but drinking coffee with him in front of the Hotel Ritsa, I found a man who worries about what the Russians want from his homeland.

For most ordinary residents of Abkhazia this is a small matter. Disagreements with Russia over history textbooks or property rights are secondary to the opportunities that Russia gives them to receive pensions or passports. For them, put bluntly, Russia is the power which defeated Georgia and will stop the Georgians coming back. As the de facto prime minister, Sergei Shamba, put it to me, “We fought a war with Russia one hundred fifty years ago, we fought a war with Georgia eighteen years ago and Russia helped us in that war. That’s where the difference is.”

But the Lakoba-Zatulin row does remind us that you can’t usefully talk about the future of Abkhazia without recalling the ghosts of its past, distant as well as more recent.

Thomas de Waal is a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.


Saturday, 4 December 2010

World's deepest cave - Krubera-Voronya Cave

Located in the Republic of Abkhazia, the Voronya Cave (Crows’ Cave, in Russian) plunges 7,188 feet (2,191 m) into the depths of the Arabika Massif, a limestone formation dating back to the Age of Dinosaurs. Also known as the Krubera cave (after Russian geographer Alexander Kruber), the cave was discovered in 1960 and has surpassed Austria’s Lamprechtsofen as the world’s deepest cave and the only known cave deeper than 2,000 meters (6,561.5 ft).





Thursday, 2 December 2010

President Sergey Bagapsh received the Abkhaz karatekas

SUKHUM, November 30 -- President Sergey Bagapsh received the Abkhaz karatekas - Dzhustan Tachulia, Tariel Chezhia, Alan Palavandzia, Akhra Enik who have won the Shotokan Karate World Championship in Mexico City and their coach, the president of the Karate Federation of Abkhazia Akhra Abukhba.

The meeting was attended by the Chairman of the State Committee on Youth and to Sports Raphael Ampar.

The head of state on behalf of the republic's leadership congratulated young athletes on their brilliant victory. “It is delightful that our athletes make us happy participating in prestigious international competitions”, the President said.

Sergey Bagapsh gave the credit for this victory to the State Committee on Youth and Sports, the coaches, adding that, certainly, that victory is a result of the talented young men's firmness of purpose.

The President emphasized that our athletes' victory is of big political importance. “Now and then our athletes do more to popularize our country than politicians do. We are proud of the fact that you have won such a significant tournament under our flag”, the President stressed. The head of state promised to support athletes.

The president of the Karate Federation of Abkhazia Akhra Abukhba told to the head of state about the tournament and about the Abkhaz karatekas' performance.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Abkhazia does not believe Saakashvili pledges not to use force: FM

SUKHUM, November 24 (Itar-Tass) - The statement of Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili in the European Parliament that Georgia will not use force in the settlement of conflicts in the South Caucasus “is not a signal for the start of a peaceful dialogue for Abkhazia,” Abkhazian Foreign Minister Maxim Gvindzhiya commented on Wednesday.

The foreign minister said he did not react to “Saakashvili’s statements with enthusiasm, as Georgia has never demonstrated positive intentions towards Abkhazia in the past 18 years”.

“We have seen nothing from Georgia but wars and provocations. That is why we treat Saakashvili’s statement with caution. Let us check his words through concrete moves,” the foreign minister told reporters here.

Addressing a session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Tuesday, Saakashvili said Georgia “is interested in beginning serious negotiations with the Russian leadership,” and besides “it comes out with a unilateral initiative to never use force for the restoration of its territorial integrity”.

“Tbilisi is ready to a comprehensive dialogue with Russian partners,” he noted.

Russia will trust the promises of Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili to stay away from the use of force when they are placed on paper and take legal effect, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Wednesday in a comment on Saakashvili's speech in the European parliament.

"If one puts aside the political gewgawry and the collection of nice-looking literary quotations, the speech produces a really dual impression," the commentary said. "On the one hand, one would really like to believe that the claims on renunciation of the use of force reflect recognition of the truths that Russia and other members of the international community have been trying to drive home to the Georgian leadership for many long years, namely, that the methods based on the application of force and military resolution of problems are inadmissible and criminal in today's world."

"Still the manner, in which this ostensibly 'unilateral solemn pledge' is presented, cannot but put one on alert," the Foreign Ministry said. "Saakashvili goes on with his attempts to convince the international community of the existence of a conflict of some kind between Russia and Georgia, while the genuine case in hand is the many-years-long conflict between the Georgian government and the peoples of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which ended in a final independent self-determination of the two countries after Georgia's aggressive military adventure in August 2008," the commentary said.

"Russia continues believing that the only way to peace and security in Southern Caucasus lies through a legal affirmation of the commitment to the non-use of force between Tbilisi and South Ossetia, as well as Tbilisi and Abkhazia," the ministry said.

Source: Itar-Tass

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Sunday, 21 November 2010

Dieter Boden: stiff resistance came from the Georgians

Olesya Vartanian / Ekho Kavkaza, November 19, 2010

TBILISI --- Dieter Boden, Former Head of OSCE and UN missions in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, presented his view of current policy towards the disputed regions in Tbilisi. Boden also spoke of the lost opportunity to resolve the Georgian conflict.

Nine years ago, in December 2001, Dieter Boden, delivered an initiative in his position as UN special envoy that was revolutionary at the time. Now few people remember the proposal’s long title; almost everyone simply calls it "the Boden Plan.”

This document defines a new constitution, in which Abkhazia was defined as a "sovereign entity" within the "federal state" of Georgia.

Last night Boden, speaking at the "European House" in Tbilisi, said for the first time that he already had the consent of Sukhum long before his official presentation of the "plan.” The Kremlin then gave its approval. Sergei Lavrov, Mediator from Moscow at that time, spoke afterwards.

"At that time, strong resistance came not from the Abkhazians, but from the Georgians. It came from the faction of the parliament that represented the interests of the Abkhazian government in exile. They were categorically against the use of the term "sovereign” to describe Abkhazia.

As Boden says, when the Abkhazians learned of the feud in Tbilisi, they decided to "seize the moment” and back out.

This, in turn, influenced the decision of the issue with South Ossetia. Up to that time a similar "Boden Plan" had been on the table of officials in Tskhinval. But when they saw the difficulties the Abkhazians faced, talk about the possible accession to "a federal Georgia” ended for the Ossetians.

Despite the failure of "Boden Plan,” in analysts’ circles it has been said that never before or since has Sukhum and Tbilisi been so close to concluding a lasting peace.

During his speech yesterday, Boden said that in the short term his document is not going to have practical applications."The realities have changed" - he replied to the question whether he has the desire to mediate between the parties.

For the last few years Boden has been teaching in his native Germany. But analysts say that his influence on current processes concerning the Georgian conflict continues. He occasionally meets with leading players in the Caucasus and abroad.

Speaking yesterday before foreign diplomats, Georgian politicians and public figures, Boden criticized several fundamental points in Tbilisi's policy towards Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

In the first place, he said, even if we imagine that the occupation ends tomorrow, Abkhazia and South Ossetia do not want to become integral parts of Georgia so quickly. "It is an illusion" – Boden said, proposing that Georgia and the international community work in complementary fashion to resolve the conflicts between the Georgians and the Abkhazians and Ossetians.

In this process, according to Bodin, it is first necessary to "work on our mistakes." He offered to give a "political assessment" of the fighting that occurred in the 1990s and during the August war.

"I can tell you that we in Germany had such an experience. Our history consists of periods of resumption of peaceful coexistence with our neighbors, including with those who suffered from Nazi Germany. "

But, Boden said, in contrast to private citizens, politicians in Sukhum and Tbilisi are not yet ready to overcome "their own dramatization of events."

Boden welcomed the approaches outlined in Georgia's strategy for the disputed regions.

"But I have only one concern regarding this strategy. In order for confidence-building measures to begin to work, it is necessary that independent action be taken by independent entities. And I do not advocate any government policies when the state begins to monitor what is happening in the private sector. "

Regarding Russia’s influence, Boden said that "it’s not going anywhere." And in resolving the conflicts in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, Tbilisi still has to reckon with Moscow’s opinion. "The leaders have remained silent so far, but eventually this will change" – Boden said.

Source: Ekho Kavkaza (Дитер Боден: жесткое сопротивление шло от грузин)

Friday, 12 November 2010

Maxim Gundjia addressed a letter to OSCE and MFA of Lithuania


Maxim Gundjia addressed a letter to OSCE and MFA of Lithuania concerning upcoming OSCE summit in Astana, Kazakhstan




OSCE SECRETARY GENERAL
AMBASSADOR MARC PERRIN DE BRICHAMBAUT

OSCE CHAIRMAN-IN-OFFICE
MR. KANAT SAUDABAYEV

MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF
THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA
MR. AUDRONIUS AŽUBALIS

Your Excellencies,

OSCE is one of the organizations, which presence in the Caucasus was a significant deterrent to the escalation of the conflict, but all the efforts of the International Community and in particular Russia towards political resolution of the Georgian-South Ossetian and the Georgian-Abkhazian conflicts have been whittled by unilateral and aggressive actions of Georgia in August 2008. As a result, new political realities had emerged in the Caucasus and Abkhazia and South Ossetia became recognized and sovereign states.

During period of OSCE’ presence in the Caucasus it has gained considerable experience and knowledge of chronology and history of the conflicts in the region. However, Georgia which is denying its guiltiness for the outbreaks of numerous wars, undertakes new provocative actions and continues to develop new aggressive plans against Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

One of these manifestations is initiated by Georgia international campaign for the recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as Russian-occupied territories.

In accordance with accepted international norms and conventions, the question of recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as occupied territories is illegal and unfounded.

According to The Hague Convention of 1907, Geneva Conventions of 1949 and certain provisions of Additional Protocol to Geneva Conventions of 1977, occupied territories are such territories, "occupied by enemy forces, leading sustained and concerted military operations" or "creating their own administration". Territory is considered as occupied when it "indeed is under the authority of hostile army."

It must be emphasized that democratically elected, legitimate government structures of the Government of the Republic of Abkhazia that have nothing to do with "administration of hostile army" enjoy full authority throughout the territory of Abkhazia.

It should be noted that Russian troops are located on the territory of the Republic of Abkhazia in accordance with the international agreements signed between Abkhazia and Russia. Moreover, the presence of Russian troops is welcomed and fully supported by the entire population of Abkhazia. Given situation is caused by the fact that these forces are the guarantors of non-resumption of hostilities from the side of Georgia, which is still preparing plans for another military invasion of Abkhazia.

Based on the aforementioned, the call of the Georgian side to international community to recognize Abkhazia and South Ossetia as an occupied territories is simply an attempt to portray Georgia as a victim and to distort the facts and consequences of long-term confrontation between Georgia and Abkhazia.

We also believe it is necessary to note that many of the OSCE declarations on the so-called "ethnic cleansing" of Georgians in Abkhazia, reflect superficial and prejudiced attitude towards the problem of Georgian-Abkhaz conflict. This position completely ignores the results of investigation of the UN Experts Committee in October 1993, pursuant to which massacres of Abkhaz and Russian-speaking population on the territory of Abkhazia by the Georgian State Council troops were recognized.

We note that during this period the UN Mission conducted this work with participation of the OSCE. "The United Nations attempted to revive the peace process through diplomatic means, in consultation with Summit on Security and Cooperation in Europe (SSCE) [now renamed into Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)], in order to ensure effective coordination of activities."

Despite this, the OSCE repeatedly reflected biased pro-Georgian position, laying all the responsibility on the Abkhaz side. Such a biased, one-sided position of the OSCE, as reflected in the Budapest, Lisbon and Istanbul declarations, only encourages Georgia to irresponsible aggressive policy in the region.

As one of the Co-chairs of Geneva discussions, the OSCE is obliged to conduct equidistant constructive policy aimed at stabilizing the situation in the region. Lack of such policy could cause reasonable doubts from the Abkhazian side concerning neutrality of the OSCE, as the Co-chair of the Geneva discussions.

Reaffirming our commitment to constructive and peaceful dialogue, we deem it necessary to provide an opportunity for representatives of the Abkhazian side to visit the OSCE Headquarters for meetings with leaders of the organization, and to address the states-participants in the format of post-soviet space, as well as to be present during discussion of matters related to the settlement of the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict held within the OSCE. This condition will enable the OSCE to make objective and balanced decisions that will contribute to resolution of conflicts and contradictions in the Caucasus.

MAXIM GUNDJIA
MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS

Sukhum 12/11/2010

Source: MFA Abkhazia

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Secret prisons in Georgia - system of intimidation for the residents of Abkhazia

The disappearance without a trace of the Abkhazian citizen Harry Jopua in the mid of October made the Abkhazian authorities to drawattention of international organizations to the policy of the Georgian side in the region. All negotiations between Sukhum and Tbilisi in fact are ceased due to the August events in Caucasus. However, international mediators are trying to reanimate in every possible way the locked process of peaceful settlement. The Abkhazian politicians fairly noticed that without taking into consideration the up-dated reality it will be impossible to achieve complete and full-scale settlement of the existing disagreements. But the major problem is that by words Georgia does not reject the political dialogue but in fact, is continuing to use coercive pressure on the Abkhazian side.

One of the examples of using such political methods are terrorist attacks that are constantly carried out by the Georgian special services. It is in this context that the cases of abduction of the Abkhazian citizens should be viewed. As an example we can take the incident of 2007 can when David Sigua, ethnic Georgian, who was an active supporter of the idea of independent Abkhazia was kidnapped from his own home by the “unknown” persons. There is no doubt that it is the life position of Sigua that caused his disappearance. We deliberately put the word “unknown” in quotes since the Abkhazian law-enforcement agencies do know for sure that the abduction of Sigua was organized by the Georgian special services. It should be noted, that they are regularly sent from the neighbor territories to carry out such and other subversive terrorist attacks.

Abkhazian side has been trying to free its citizen by using all known ways of either official diplomacy or the peoples’ one for three years already. Sukhum has many times officially addressed the top international authorities requesting to get involved in locating David Sigua’s position. But his destiny is still unknown. In response to urgent requests to return Sigua the Georgian side gives a hackneyed answer that they have no information about Sigua, and the international representatives in Georgia in a confidential manner confirm the words of the Georgian authorities.. As a result, there is a deadlock which will be difficult to overcome since the Western protectors are not interested in further staining the flyblown reputation of Saakashvili.

A few days ago, the press service of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs spread a sensational message, notably regarding the letter of the Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Maksim Gundjia to the Executive Secretary of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture Trevor Stevens The reason for the Abkhazian politician’s appeal is another crime against humanity. This time the victim of the Georgian special services became Garry Djopua. He was kidnapped on the 9th of October in the border region of Gal. Mr. Gunjia requests Mr. Stevens to facilitate the objective investigation on finding the whereabouts of the Abkhazian citizen. It is not a coincidence that that Mr. Gunjia addressed this particular person. An objective investigation can be conducted upon the will of the European statesman. In Georgia there are offices many international organizations. On the border itself there are the EU monitors. But they will unlikely participate in investigating the cases of complete disappearance of the Abkhazian citizens three years or a month ago. This is not only the case of their unconditional support of Georgian authorities.

In the above mentioned letter the Abkhazian Minister assumes that the Abkhazian residents are probably detained in the Georgian secret prisons. In the light of the scant information on the results of the last round of Geneva discussions the news regarding the secret prisons came like a thunderbolt from a clear sky. It did not come as a bombshell, however. While the message was ignored by most of mass media, a number of facts mentioned make us believe there can be a high possibility of the existence of secret prisons in Georgia. Although there is no absolute proof, all of the above mentioned shows that the hypothesis of the MFA of Abkhazia can be true.

It is well known that Georgia is the only country at the Post-Soviet space which blindly follows the political directions of the Western patrons and especially the US. This transatlantic country was once involved in the political scandal several years ago when the information regarding the secret prisons in Eastern Europe leaked into the press. That time Washington tried but it did not manage to put a good face on the situation. The whole media buzz around the European prisons where captives from Iraq and Afghanistan were brought to and then tortured played a nasty trick on the then President George Bush. According to many political scholars this information regarding the inhuman treatment of the detainees shocked the American electorate. As a result, they voted for Barak Obama, not for McCain, who was supported by Bush.

The information regarding the secret prisons in Georgia can cause indignation among ordinary Georgians and probably will as they know exactly how the current regime is struggling with the political opposition. Using its punitive institutions Tbilisi authorities deal shortly with everybody who thinks differently. Many experts admit that Georgia has the biggest number of political detainees in the world. The existence of the secret casemates is beneficial for the Georgian authorities not only because of their solidarity with the Americans who got stuck in Afghanistan. It is also an effective way for them to get rid of the ardent critics.

The reason for secret prison is obvious: it is a place to hide forever the people that are disliked by the current regime. David Sigua did not suit Tbilisi authorities. He actively supported the official Sukhum Government, he was popular among the residents of Gal region, and people listened to him. In this case, isn’t it better to get him into such prison which is not mentioned in the Ministry of Justice list and is difficult to find in the out-of-the-way mountainous locations. According to the unverified sources, the secret casemates can be in the suburb areas of Tbilisi and Rustavi. And they are not solely Georgian prisons. There is a possibility that the secret prisons of CIA are located in this territory. Taking into consideration the participation of Georgia in the international anti terrorist operations in Afghanistan it can be assumed that talibs after the capture are transferred to Georgia for further detention.

Therefore , Georgia was accused of creating a system of secret prisons. Right now Abkhazia does not have enough evidence, but it has assumptions. Two Abkhazian citizens have already disappeared in the Georgian prisons. Who is the next victim of the Georgian special services? It will be truly sad, if the abductions continue.

“On the 26th of October, the day of the publication another Abkhazian citizen Parpaliya Nugzar (born in 1945) who works as a foreman at the Rep village was kidnapped. This incident happened on the Georgian side of the border at the village of Hercha. Parpaliya N. was captured by Georgian special services when he was returning to Abkhazia from the territory of Georgia. The 65-year old man was accused of the drug trafficking but it is known that the evidence was fake.”

Lev Sonnikov

Source: IA REGNUM (Russian)


Sunday, 24 October 2010

George Hewitt: Abkhazia has the potential to be a successful state

Win.ru, October 19, 2010 - If Georgians/Georgian politicians really believe the rhetoric of their statements on the ’occupied territories’, they are living in a fantasy world. If they don’t believe it, then they are engaging in utterly cynical attempts to deceive their Western supporters. Either way, they are doomed to fail, just as everything else they’ve attempted since 1989 with regard to either Abkhazia or S. Ossetia had led to failure. They are their own worst enemies, but they refuse to recognize this or any other aspect of reality on the ground.

Today we represent on our site an interview with Professor George Hewitt. He is a professor of Caucasian languages at the School of Oriental and African Studies, a fellow of the British Academy and the honorary consul for Abkhazia to the UK. He has lived on and off in Abkhazia for over 30 years and publishes regularly on the history, languages and politics of the Caucasus.

— As it can bee seen from Your writings You are skeptical about Georgia’s attempts to "reintegrate" Abkhazia and Southern Ossetia. What can You say about current activities of Georgia in this direction? And about the way it would be more proper for Georgia to act? Do You believe that Russia really does threaten Georgia’s independence and sovereignty?

— If Georgians/Georgian politicians really believe the rhetoric of their statements on the ’occupied territories’, they are living in a fantasy world. If they don’t believe it, then they are engaging in utterly cynical attempts to deceive their Western supporters. Either way, they are doomed to fail, just as everything else they’ve attempted since 1989 with regard to either Abkhazia or S. Ossetia had led to failure. They are their own worst enemies, but they refuse to recognize this or any other aspect of reality on the ground. There is only one way to lead to the restoration of normal life in the region and that is to recognize their loss of Abkhazia and S. Ossetia and to get on with the business of building good-neighbourly ties — the same applies to Azerbaijan with reference to N-Karabagh. And as for "Russian threat" to Georgia’s independence and sovereignty — no, not in the way that Georgians claim and many believe. No doubt Moscow wants to preserve some influence in the region and to avoid having Georgia become a member of NATO, but would one have expected anything different from America, if the roles were reversed?

— How would You describe the current situation with Abkhazia and Southern Ossetia in general? Which ways may it develop further?

— The situation in the two republics is somewhat different. Abkhazia does not want to become a satellite of, or annexed by Russia, but is being given no chance to develop in the way it wants because of the West’s dogged support for Tbilisi. Abkhazia has the potential to be a successful state, its economy based on tourism. S. Ossetia is not so beneficially placed. Most people would suppose that union with N. Ossetia is the obvious solution, but it seems that such a solution is not necessarily the first choice of S. Ossetians themselves. Whether S. Ossetia can fully exist as an independent state with its land-locked situation, small population and relative lack of experience at self-government is a difficult question to answer.

— What can You say about the current situation in the Caucasus region at whole? Has it some specific features?

— The Caucasus is one of the most varied regions on earth in terms of linguistic and ethnic diversity. When one adds in religious differences, one might well conclude that the Caucasus does have its own specific features. When the USSR disintegrated, there was a hope that this heralded a ’new world order’, but ’order’ is not a word that easily comes to mind when talking about the post-Soviet Caucasus. The problems are legion and have not been helped (in the Northern Caucasus) by the Kremlin’s failed policies towards Chechenia, which have only served to provide a foothold to militant Islam, which has become such a danger in so many states around the world today. How one accommodates the aspirations of so many peoples is a question that probably requires the wisdom of Solomon to answer. Leaderships in the states concerned need to understand that dialogue at all levels should be encouraged and corruption at ALL levels in society rooted out. The native peoples of the Caucasus developed ways of living together (or at least as neighbours) over the centuries (millennia, even), and one can only hope that in the fast-changing conditions of the modern world, they will be given the chance to rediscover those ways, free from conflict and wars.

— What is Your opinion about the changes taking place in the Black Sea region? What role may play the issue of Abkhazia and Southern Ossetia?

— It’s not clear how what relevance South Ossetia has for developments in the Black Sea region, given its land-locked position. One looks forward to a time when the cooperation being developed between the various states which border the Black Sea will be offered to Abkhazia. As long as there are attempts by Georgia and Georgia’s supporters to isolate Abkhazia and to hinder shipping between Sukhum and Trebizond (Trabzon), there will be potential for misunderstanding and actual conflict. Russia has its Black Sea fleet, and NATO has vessels there too, and one recalls the days in the wake of the fighting in August 2008 when it briefly looked as though the Russian and US NATO vessels might find themselves in dangerous proximity. Just as a number of states (Abkhazia, Georgia, Armenia and Russia) would benefit from a full reopening of the rail-line through Abkhazia, so the Black Sea border-states will benefit from the relaxation of tension that would result from recognizing Abkhazian independence and the establishment of normal good-neighbourly relations between Abkhazia and Georgia. Recognition is inevitable, and so the sooner it comes, the better for all.

Interviewed by Marat Kunaev

Source: Win.ru

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Cultural Genocide by Georgia, supported by American Embassy in South Korea continues.

Comment of the MFA of Abkhazia

On the 23rd of September at the 65th Session of the United States General Assembly in New York Michael Saakashvili addressed to People of Abkhazia: “ I want to tell them once again: we will protect your rights, your culture, your history-we will work with you, we will work for you”.

At the same time, the official website of the Georgian government is translated into Abkhazian language, so, from now on the information about government activity will be available for Abkhazians too. Thus, Georgian side is expressing loyalty towards Abkhazia which is actually just a Public Relation act.

We are outraged by the Georgian representatives’ attempts to block the participation of the State Folk Dance Ensemble of the Republic of Abkhazia "Sharatyn” at the “Chonan Huntarion”, International folklore festival-contest in South Korea. Moreover, this action was supported by the American Embassy in South Korea.

As it became known the US Embassy representatives have been trying to break off further Abkhazian concerts in South Korea on Georgian request.

In fact, the real direction of today’s Georgian authorities hasn’t changed at all and is similar to the Stalin’s strategy when Abkhazian people survived through assimilation and mass destruction in the cultural sphere as well. Georgian direction is still pointing at the political, economic and cultural isolation of Abkhazia and its citizens. Such actions of Georgian side and its American partners can be only considered as the cultural genocide of People of Abkhazia and prove once again absolute impossibility of the co-existence of Abkhazians and Georgians in a single country as it is offered by the Western allies of Georgia.

Sukhum 20/10/2010

Source: MFA Abkhazia

Friday, 1 October 2010

On the eve of the Victory Day the President of Abkhazia Sergey Bagapsh addressed compatriots

SUKHUM, September 30 -- On the eve of the Victory Day the President of Abkhazia Sergey Bagapsh addressed compatriots, soldiers, defenders of the Fatherland, veterans, parents of heroes of the war of liberation!

His address reads:

“Our nation marks the 17th anniversary of the victory over the enemy that occupied the country, put cities and villages, innocent people to fire and annihilation.

In that extremely dangerous for the fate of Abkhazia time a true patriot Vladislav Ardzinba headed the national-liberation movement and managed to bring the idea of freedom and survival of the Abkhaz far beyond the bounds of the Motherland. Thousands and thousands of volunteers who came to the aid of Abkhazia were inspired by this idea. This idea became clear and dear to many politicians, scientists, common citizens all over the world. All through the years of ordeals they have been rendering moral and humanitarian aid to us.

Faced with the threat of holocaust the nation united in a single fist, young and old, men and women rose to defend their Fatherland from the barbarians.

With dignity the nation went through the hard years of restoration of the state in the situation of tough isolation, blockade, and political pressure. Those who were sure they could break us, make us give up our chief goal, were mistaken.

We held out. And today we continue to move confidently to the future. Even if with difficulties, not at the pace we would like to, but together we will overcome this path. The experience of military unity should help us in no less difficult peaceful life.

Every year obelisks, memorials in memory of our soldiers, our children are unveiled in Abkhazia.

They can be erected endlessly, they are dependant on time, but they are necessary for future generations for the descendants to understand, what for and for whose sake their ancestors fought and won this unequal war. And the most important thing is that memory of a heart will survive centuries.

Today the country bows down to the fallen, celebrates the heroes who have survived in terrible battles. They continue a great deed that was started by the people and will be advanced by our children.

This is a hard fate of the Abkhaz. Joy and tears have always come hand in hand in our life before. Let it never ever repeat again.

Our country is worthy of a bright fate, and it is sure to revive. No matter how hard it were, we are obliged to avoid all dangers on the path of the development of the Abkhaz state.

I believe- so it will be.

I congratulate you on this great holiday, compatriots!”

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Maxim Gunjia met with UNHCR delegation

SUKHUM, September 29 -- On September 29, 2010 Maxim Gunjia received the UNHCR delegation led by Assistant High Commissioner for Refugees Janet Lim.

At the beginning of the meeting Janet Lim thanked the Minister for the meeting and outlined the purpose of her visit, which is to monitor projects implemented by UNHCR. The Assistant High Commissioner for Refugees stressed the importance of close cooperation with the authorities of the Republic of Abkhazia.

Maxim Gunjia, in turn, noted the high level of understanding that exists between the UNHCR and the government. The Minister spoke about the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the Government of Armenia and international organizations, which promotes more effective cooperation between the parties. With regard to projects implemented by UNHCR, the Minister stressed that the people involved in these projects should be given opportunity to develop their business and earn money. Noting the particular importance of agricultural projects for our republic, Maxim Gunjia spoke about the existing successful projects, and prospects for the industry.

Janet Lim and Maxim Gunjia concurred on the need for continued dialogue within the framework of the Geneva talks and the five-party Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism (IPRM).

At the conclusion of the meeting, the Assistant High Commissioner for Refugees thanked the Minister for constructive discussion and assured that his comments and suggestions will be considered in future work of UNHCR in the region.

Source: MFA Abkhazia

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

MPs elected hero of Abkhazia Sergey Matosyan as vice-speaker of parliament

SUKHUM, September 27 -- MPs elected Sergey Matosyan as vice-speaker of the People's Assembly.

The vice-speaker was elected by secrete vote. 22 out of 24 deputies voted in favour of Sergey Matosyan.

Sergey Matosyan was born in 1952. A Colonel. A Hero of Abkhazia. He commanded 3 battalions during the 1992-1993 Patriotic War of the Abkhaz Nation.

In 1994 he participated in the Lat operation in the Kodor valley where he headed Marshal I. Bagramyan battalion. Then he headed the Border Guard Detachment of the RA State Security Council.

From 1996 to 2000 he was a People's Assembly – the Parliament of the Republic of Abkhazia deputy, from 2000 to 2005 he worked as HR Department Chief in the Ministry of Internal Affairs. In 2007 he was again elected People's Assembly deputy.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Working With Iron And Fire - A Blacksmith's Life: Vladimir Khutaba


Somewhere in Abkhazia there live and work two talented blacksmiths - a father and a son, Vladimir and Daur Khutaba. They proved another time that blacksmiths are interesting and even mysterious people.

Vladimir Khutaba has been standing at an anvil since 1954. Now he is 77 and most of the work is done by his son Daur. They showed us how they make a thing that will remain in the family for the long years and will be considered to be sacred - a chain that will be used to hang a kettle on over a hearth.


Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Abkhazia for new mechanisms and formats for refugees return

SUKHUM, September 14 (Itar-Tass) -- The Abkhazian Foreign Ministry is interested in a wise and balanced solution of the problem of refugees and displaced persons’ return, says the address of the republic’s Foreign Ministry issued on Tuesday in connection with the resolution of the United Nations General Assembly on refugees.

The Foreign Ministry regards the resolution as “distorting reality” and “doing nothing to promote progress in solving problems of refugees.” “Taking into account the new realities, the Abkhazian side believes it is necessary to create new mechanisms and adopt new formats for the procedure of refugees return to the independent state, the Republic of Abkhazia,” says the address.

The Foreign Ministry notes that “the Republic of Abkhazia, the victim of Georgia’s aggression, is interested more than others in the establishment of durable and stable peace in the region.” The ministry recalls that “it was precisely Georgia that violated more than once all the agreements on non-use of force” and “continues groundlessly to refuse from signing the document on non-resumption of military operations, which bespeaks of its aggressive intentions.

“The Georgian authorities also refuse from preliminary coordination of conditions for refugees’ return and registration,” says the address.

“Although the problem of refugees is the subject of the talks in the framework of the Geneva debates, the Georgian leadership tries to keep Abkhazia out of the discussion of the matter,” the document says. “As a result Abkhazia has not been invited a single time to the consultations and not participated in the discussion even at the preliminary stages,” says the address.

The Foreign Ministry says “it is impossible for all refugees to return to Abkhazia, as many of them are war criminals who participated in the genocide of the Abkhazian people during the Georgian-Abkhazian war of 1992-1993.” Therefore the Abkhazian side insists on “the establishment of a real number of people who wish, are ready and, the main thing, have the right to return to Abkhazia, since persons who are war criminals are excluded from international protection granted to refugees.”

The Abkhazian side “calls on representatives of UN member countries to promote the adoption of a balanced decision and enable Abkhazia’s representatives to declare their substantiated viewpoint on the problem,” says the address.

Source: Itar-Tass

Related

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Abkhazia might agree to UN Observers deployment in its territory

SUKHUM, Abkhazia -- The Abkhaz authorities intend to propose a new draft agreement on the non-use of force at the next round of Geneva discussions, the President's envoy to the international discussions in Geneva Vyacheslav Chirikba declared Tuesday. He said that “in all there are four drafts - Russian, Abkhaz, South Ossetian and Georgian”. The Abkhaz variant of the agreement, as he said, “consists of two basic statutes - declaration on the non-use of force, and guarantees of maintaining a peacful situation in the region”.

Chirikba does not rule out that “as one of the elements of the agreement observance mechanism the issue of deploying observers on either side of the border between Abkhazia and Georgia could be considered”.

“Those will be not peacekeeping forces. Those might be observer posts- those of the United Nations on our side, the European Union ones - on the Georgian side that would watch the situation and report, if there was any escalation of tension. At least, they should have a ground and they could have the possibility to report on these violations”, Chirikba said.

“All the details are still in the process of discussion, and the Abkhaz party is ready to consider alternative variants”, he declared.

Sukhum is not against “a small UN Mission” in the territory of Abkhazia that would mediate between Sukhum and Tbilisi, as well as have contacts with the Russian side. These functions performance by European observers is considered impossible by Sukhum, as the European Union took a hard line regarding the recognition of Abkhazia's independence.


Related

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

“Foreign Policy of the Republic of Abkhazia: Results and Prospects'' Round Table Held in Sukhum

SUKHUM, August 24 -- “Foreign policy of the Republic of Abkhazia : results and prospects” is the subject of the “round table” organized by the foreign policy department of the Presidential Administration for the second anniversary of the recognition by Russia of Abkhazia's independence. Leading experts and politicians who had taken part in forming the foreign policy of Abkhazia, discussed the results of country's development from the point of view of its international situation and prospect of Abkhazia in the system of international relations.

“The recognition of independence of Abkhazia by Russia is a historical event which our nation has gone towards for many long years. The recognition of Abkhazia as a subject of international law appeared to be a very difficult process. The President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev have said time and again, this decision has presented a problem for him, however, having recognized the independence of Abkhazia, Russia doesn't intend to renounce its decision and to reverse it to please somebody”, President Sergey Bagapsh said, opening the discussion. According to the head of state, “the recognition entails more obligations, rather than privileges”.

“The situation that has developed in the country and around it in connection with the recognition of independence, called for amending the domestic and foreign policy. The activity aimed at achieving the recognition of Abkhazia by other countries took on special significance”, Bagapsh said. “The last two years became the years of strengthening international positions of the Republic of Abkhazia”.

The President stressed the importance of further development of mutually beneficial cooperation between Abkhazia and Russia, being strategic partners and allies.

He also pointed to the increasing interest to Abkhazia in the world.

The President's foreign policy adviser Vyacheslav Chirikba, Prime Minister Sergey Shamba, the Ambassador of Russia to Abkhazia Semyon Grigoriev, the Minister for Foreign Affairs Maxim Gvindzhia, the director of the Center for Strategic Researches to the President Oleg Damenia, a Public Chamber member Natella Aqaba, an employee for the Center for Humanitarian Programs Liana Kvarchelia, an AGU associate professor, a candidate of Political Studies Irakly Hintba spoke about various aspects of the country's foreign policy.

The “round table” was also attended by Said Tarkil, Socrat Dzhindzholia, Leonid Lakerbaya, Konstantin Ozgan and Sergey Shamba, who have held office of the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the republic. The hononary consul of Abkhazia to the Great Britain George Hewitt, Official Representatives of the Foreign Ministry of the Republic of Abkhazia to Germany and Turkey - Hibla Amichba and Vladimir Avidzba also participated in the discussion.

One of the participants, an Abkhaz State University associate professor, the head of the international relations chair Raul Khonelia offered the former heads of the foreign policy department of Abkhazia to write memoirs about their work.

“Your memoirs will be interesting to our young people. They want to know more about glorious, and at the same time dramatic pages of the history of the country”, he said.