Abkhazia: President Sums Up First 100 Days
Below is an article published by The Messenger Online:
De facto Abkhazian President Sergey Bagapsh has summed up the first 100 days of the second term of his presidency in an interview with the newspaper Trubuna. He said that he had continued the work done during the last five years. “Both then and now we face very complicated challenges,” the de facto leader of the region said, adding that one of the most significant events for the republic recently was the recognition of its independence by the Russian Federation. “The time when we were somewhere in between war and peace, when we were expending our efforts on military issues, border problems and endless arguments with Georgia is finishing,” Bagapsh told the newspaper. The main task of the government at the moment is to move the country from the “rails of war to the rails of peace,” the de facto President said.
Bagapsh touched upon the issue of the Russian military bases on Abkhazian territory. He said that the presence of the Russian border police is important for the republic not only in terms of security but economic development. “First of all, business needs peace and stability. Investments will flow in when a return on the invested money is guaranteed,” Bagapsh noted. “On the other hand not only soldiers will be living in the Russian military base in Gudauta but also their families, who will be working in different spheres. This is a serious contribution to the economics of the republic,” the de facto leader said, adding that for a country with the population of 230,000 it is important to have not only investment but also human resources.
Speaking of the international mission of Abkhazia as a state, Bagapsh said that “we are reserved people, we understand our abilities and assess what we are able to do at the moment, and what we are not able to.” “The world is beautiful because of the diversity of the nations. Every nation has the right to be independent and proud... We are not an aggressive nation, however we will never give up what we have now. We do not need a square metre of land from Georgia. However we are not going to give anyone what belongs to us,” the de facto President said.
Bagapsh expressed his concern at the “double standards” policy of the international community towards Abkhazia. “Imagine the situation when a sick child is not permitted to enter EU states to undergo surgery. The President of Abkhazia is not allowed to give a lecture in Paris and I understand this – I am a politician. But when it comes to the health and rights of a person, it is hard to understand,” the de facto Abkhazian leader said. “The states who talk about human rights do not in fact observe them...That’s why the existing system of double standards should be changed,” he added.
Asked whether he distinguished between the Georgian nation and the Government of Georgia, Bagapsh said, “there are no bad nations in the world. There are only bad politicians who lead their states to a critical point, just like in Georgia."