Abkhazia: Appeal to UN Security Council
Below is a statement issued by Sergey M. Shamba, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Abkhazia, addressed to the United Nations Security Council:
The Georgian-Abkhaz war ended on 30 September 1993, and the negotiations between Georgia and Abkhazia under the UN aegis started in October that year. It was established from the beginning of the peace process that there were two parties to the conflict - the Georgian one and the Abkhaz one. Accordingly, it would be logical to suggest that, if an appropriate and objective decision is to be taken, an impartial mediator should hear the views of both parties. Based on this understanding, we repeatedly called upon the UN Security Council to give us an opportunity to explain our views and our position to the Council members. Unfortunately, the UN Security Council has not yet found it possible to consult both parties, which makes us think that the UN has not become an equidistant party. Indeed, the recent processes surrounding this situation, with regard to the chance of making a statement in the UN Headquarters in
We were surprised to learn from the statements of high-ranking Georgian politicians that the
Regrettably, the negotiation process has ended in a stalemate. This happened because last summer, the Georgian side deployed its armed forces in violation of all previous agreements that had been reached between the sides. The United Nations Security Council, in its resolution 1716, urged the Georgian side to comply fully with previous agreements and withdraw troops from the
Also, we have to recognize that no significant progress has been made on any of the key issues since the beginning of the peace process fourteen years ago. Solutions are still to be found regarding political settlement, return of refugees and economic recovery of the region. We assume that practically all possibilities for a compromise have been exhausted. It is time that the Security Council and the international community objectively evaluated and considered the current situation.
And the situation is such that for 14 years after the war we were building an independent and democratic state in difficult conditions and under different sanctions and embargoes and have greatly succeeded in this. Abkhazia is demonstrating a progressive movement on the path of building an independent and democratic state. And there is no return to the past as this past was condemned by the entire civilized world. This past relates to the Stalinist era as it was exactly at that time, when Abkhazia, on Stalin's will, entered the
In the 20th century, if we take the last 100 years of our relations,
Therefore the only way to guarantee a free development and economic prosperity for our people is to build an independent democratic state. This is the way our people have chosen. It was determined in a national referendum and we would like to call the world community and members of the UN Security Council to respect our people's will. Any claims that the Abkhazian referendum and successive elections to government bodies and presidential elections cannot be recognized since they have been conducted in the absence of considerable part of the population who became refugees as a result of the war are invalid because the demographic changes that took place in Abkhazia after the war were triggered by the aggression unleashed by the Georgian leadership. And it is this leadership that should be held fully responsible for everything that happened in Abkhazia: for thousands of deaths, for destructions, for economic dislocation and for the refugees unable to return to Abkhazia today. They are unable to return not because we pursue inhumane policy but because there are objective circumstances that make it impossible to ensure security of the returnees. In situations when we can guarantee their security, when we can control those processes we are making efforts to solve this problem, in particular in the border Gali district where the great majority of the population who fled as a result of the war have returned to their homes.
At present it is not possible to return this people to the other regions of Abkhazia as it will lead to new clashes, large-scale bloodshed and, as a result, to the internal war. We are not interested in it and it is absolutely obvious that nobody is interested in it. That is why we discuss the problem of the return of refugees at the negotiation table, on a step-by-step basis and in accordance with the realities that emerged and now exist.
Thus, we would like to draw your attention to the fact that Abkhazia became part, of the Georgian SSR at Stalin's will, that our relations deteriorated and transformed into outright antagonism during the communist rule and that the international community which now condemns the communist regime and its consequences must just as well denounce these last atavisms of the communist era. It should denounce the consequences of Stalin's model of a union state building when Union and
Sergey M. Shamba
Minister of Foreign Affairs of Abkhazia