Jun 22, 2010

Abkhazia: European Union must stop Isolating the Republic of Abkhazia

Sample Image Humanitarian Projects to be carried out in Abhkazia still need to be approved by Georgia, an issue the rest of the International Community, and especially the European Union, should help address in their recognition of the Republic.

Below is an article published by TheMessenger.com.ge 

The de facto Abkhazian Foreign Ministry has expressed discontent at the fact that international organisations working in the de facto republic need permission from the Georgian Reintegration Ministry before conducting humanitarian projects in Georgia’s breakaway region. 

Speaking at a meeting with Abkhazian journalists in Sokhumi, de facto Abkhazian Foreign Minister Maxim Ghvinjia said that the de facto authorities will “insist” on a memorandum being signed between the “Abkhazian Foreign Ministry” and the international humanitarian organisations concerning carrying out their activities in the “republic.” “We are not content with the fact that projects to be carried out in Abkhazia should be approved by Georgia. We are grateful to many international organisations for assisting Abkhazia with different useful projects over the last 16 years. They have helped us a lot, however today we have a different reality on the ground,” news agency Apsnypress quoted Ghvinjia as saying. 

The de facto Foreign Minister also touched upon the issue of the signing of a non-use of force document, saying that the last round of Geneva talks demonstrated that “Georgia will not sign this document and the international mediators will not insist on the signing of such an important document”. “We have the impression that our arguments remain unheard. The main issue related to security on the agenda has become a second level issue, and less important issues, not related to long-term stability and security in the region, have come to the surface,” Ghvinjia said. “We also have the feeling that the international mediators at the Geneva discussions, particularly those in the humanitarian issues group, are intentionally trying to ignore the arguments of the Abkhazian side about the problems of IDPs, lifting the blockade and so on,” Ghvinjia noted. However, he added that the Geneva talks are a “platform for Abkhazia to deliver its positions to the international community.” 

Speaking to journalists, Ghvinjia also expressed his concern at the “attempts of the international community to isolate Abkhazia by depriving its citizens of freedom of movement.” “We have no right not to express our discontent about the fact that the Embassies of Schengen states have received notification not to issue visas to the residents of Abkhazia,” the de facto Minister said, adding that visas are being denied to not only “state officials” but ordinary citizens. “So we can conclude that after the recognition of Abkhazia as an independent state by Russia the European Union has adopted a certain strategy of internationally isolating the republic,” Ghvinjia stated. 

Georgian officials were not available for comment on the de facto Abkhazian Foreign Minister’s statements.