Abkhazia: Reactions to Visa Denial
Below is an article published by Radio Free
The row erupted at the United Nations in
Russian UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin accused
Churkin made the statement to reporters after the UN Security Council heard a briefing on the Abkhaz situation on April 10 from UN special envoy Jean Arnault. The briefing session was behind closed doors.
The U.S. State Department immediately rejected Russian charge. Speaking in Washington, spokesman Sean McCormack said Shamba had withdrawn his visa application before
"Mr. Shamba, who acts in the capacity as the Abkhazian, quote, foreign minister applied for a visa and then withdrew his application," McCormack said.
The row over a leader of the Abkhaz separatist region -- which Washington does not recognize -- comes as the Security Council is due to vote on April 13 on a resolution extending the mandate of the UN observer mission to Georgia. The current mandate expires on April 15.
Churkin also charged
Churkin said Washington had agreed last week to let Kosovo's self-styled president, Fatmir Sejdiu, address Security Council members despite objections from Moscow.
Acting U.S. Ambassador to the UN Alejandro Wolff said Churkin was trying to draw "false analogies."
"We've heard Ambassador Churkin today, as he has done previously, raise false analogies with Kosovo, in a mischievous effort to complicate that decision," Wolff said.
Georgian Prime Minister Zurab Noghaideli, who was also in
"No, we certainly didn't raise any issues of Kosovo," Noghaideli said. "And Kosovo and Abkhazia are separate issues."
The Georgian government is also seeking support for the return of a second separatist enclave,