Abkhazia: Concern Mounts Over Travel Documents
Abkhazia fears that it is slowly being imposed Georgian passports instead of neutral ones.
Below is an article published by MFA Abkhazia:
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Abkhazia is deeply concerned about the recent media information on the recognition by certain countries of the so-called "neutral travel documents" for the citizens of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
"Neutral identity cards" and "neutral travel documents" are the same tool of the "engagement strategy" of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, developed by Tbilisi authorities after August 2008 and aimed ostensibly at lifting sanctions against Abkhazia. In fact, documents that are promoted by Georgia in the framework of the Action Plan of the "State Strategy on Occupied Territories" may create obstacles to the realization of the universal right to freedom of movement and along with other tools of the "Georgian strategy" to promote the isolation of Abkhazia.
It is known that the aim of the Georgian initiatives, as set out in the preamble of the State Strategy is "to achieve complete de-occupation of Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali region / South Ossetia ... and peacefully reintegrate these territories and populations in a single constitutional space of Georgia." Such obvious political frameworks make these initiatives of the Georgian authorities absolutely unacceptable for the citizens of Abkhazia.
Abkhazia is not an occupied territory, as is easily seen to any unbiased observer, so no "strategies on occupied territories", developed by the Georgian authorities, will work.
It will be recalled that during the blockade period after the end of the Georgian-Abkhazian war of 1992-1993, when the Soviet documents lost their legitimate force, the Abkhaz leadership has repeatedly appealed to the various international bodies with a request for issuing of neutral international passports to the Republic's population. However, Abkhaz authorities were refused under pressure from Georgia and its allies.
Today, citizens of the Republic of Abkhazia have Russian passports as well as foreign Abkhaz passports, which meet all international standards. However, at the initiative of Georgia and its allies the practice of denying stamping Schengen visas in the Russian passports issued on the territory of Abkhazia has increased in the recent time.
Thereby, Tbilisi hopes to force citizens of Abkhazia to apply for Georgian "neutral passports" and actively urges the international community in the promising perspective of this venture. However, it is another myth by Tbilisi authorities. And indeed the "neutrality" of these documents is another myth: in the "country code" "Georgia" is specified.
The Georgian government is obviously trying to prevent the international communication of Abkhazia. Abkhazia is open to the world and it is the best refutation of the Tbilisi myths about "Russian occupation", "gross human rights violations", "ethnic cleansing" and "lack of democracy in Abkhazia."
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs emphasizes that no decisions with respect to citizens of Abkhazia can be made without the consent of the Abkhaz side. Further recognition of Georgia's so-called "neutral travel documents" on the background of ignoring legitimate documents of Abkhaz residents will be considered as discrimination of the citizens of the Republic of Abkhazia and seen as another attempt to isolate the people of Abkhazia. It causes only regret that at the beginning of the XXI century, Tbilisi authorities are trying to build a new "Berlin wall".
Given that some states and organizations might find themselves engaged into another shady enterprise initiated by the Georgian authorities, on isolation of Abkhazia, the Abkhaz side will raise the issue of so-called "neutral passports" in the framework of Geneva discussions. Further recognition of the Georgian documents may have direct implications for the Abkhaz participation in the International discussions on security and stability in South Caucasus.