Dec 26, 2006

Abkhazia: Abkhazia Signs Treaty with Pridnestrovie

On a state visit in Pridnestrovie, the President of Abkhazia signed a bilateral cooperation treaty. Both have made important democracy advances in the past two years.
On a state visit in Pridnestrovie, the President of Abkhazia signed a bilateral cooperation treaty. The two countries are next in line for international recognition. Both have made important democracy advances in the past two years.

 TIRASPOL (Tiraspol Times) - The leaders of Pridnestrovie (or Transdniester, as it is sometimes known in English) the Republic of Abkhazia, Igor Smirnov and Sergei Bagapsh, signed here on Saturday an agreement on diverse cooperation between their two countries.

“ - The agreement envisages cooperation in the economic sphere, implementation of a number of joint projects in the scientific and cultural life and sports,” Bagapsh pointed out.

Igor Smirnov announced that his country has opened a diplomatic representation in Sukhumi, the capital of Abkhazia.

 Both presidents pointed out that the main goal of Abkhazia, Pridnestrovie and South Ossetia is the achievement of international recognition of their independence. To that end, they have created a joint international framework in the Community for Democracy and Human Rights, which a fourth emerging country - Nagorno Karabakh - is mulling to join as well. It is widely believed that at least two of these four will be among the next nations worldwide to achieve fully recognized independent statehood and United Nations membership.

Commenting on relations with Georgia, Bagapsh said, “Talks with Tbilisi can currently not be held. The main condition for the resumption of dialogue is the withdrawal of Georgian troops from the Kodori gorge.” He sees the threat of new war as a saber rattling provocation and a strong-arm tactic which runs counter to the United Nations Charter and modern human rights commitments of civilized nations.

 “ - Abkhazia wants the conflict’s peaceful settlement, preservation of the existing format of the peacekeeping operation and negotiating process,” Bagapsh pointed out.

 Democracy improvements

 Abkhazia, reports U.S. magazine The New Republic, could survive on its own, prospering from its fertile soil, its Black Sea beaches, its port in Sukhumi, and its highway and rail connections to Russia.

 In a 2004 election, power was peacefully handed over from the incumbent president to his opposition challenger, the winner in a democratic election which international observers classified as free and fair.

 Bagapsh affirms that Abkhazia remains committed to building an "independent democratic state."

Pridnestrovie, likewise, has proven its viability as a separate, independent country. Under a pro-reform constitution, it has an open, export-oriented economy and commercial ties with 99 countries in the world. This is a lifeline which Moldova is now trying to cut, in an effort to turn back the clock on recent progress.

In 2005's parliamentary election, a new opposition party - Renewal - won a majority of the seats and took the post of Speaker away from a pro-Smirnov party. In 2006, more opposition parties have sprung up. There is no censorship or suppression of political views in PMR. In the latest presidential election, in December 2006, one of the candidates openly spoke in favor of unification with Moldova. He finished third in a race of four, with around 3% of the vote.

Both Pridnestrovie and Akbhazia face outside threats to their budding democracy-building efforts.

Abkhazia suffers from a land- and sea-embargo by Georgia, which has attempted to cripple the economy of the small and unrecognized country. This is similar to the economic blockade imposed on Pridnestrovie by an unsensitive government in Moldova. The hardships suffered by the people in both nations have hardened their resolve on the need for recognized statehood and independence, and have created a generation of distrust towards their larger neigbors. Commentators report that Moldova and Georgia have decisively lost any goodwill that they may have had in the past, and that there is little hope of restoring amicable relations while economic warfare continues. (With information from Itar-Tass)