Abkhazia may render
aid to S. Ossetia in protecting its security - Bagapsh
Sukhum, Abkhazia has warned Georgia
that it might render military assistance to South Ossetia if the
situation in the conflict area continues to worsen, Abkhaz President
Sergei Bagapsh told Interfax Saturday.
"We have held a session of the Abkhaz
Security Council, at which the escalation of the conflict in South
Ossetia was discussed," Bagapsh said.
"We have made a statement warning Georgia
and those backing it on the unacceptability of the further complication
of the situation surrounding South Ossetia," he said.
Statement by the Chairman High-level meeting of the
Group of Friends of the Secretary-General
From 27 to 28 June 2007, senior
representatives of the Group of Friends of the Secretary-General met in Bonn
under the chairmanship of the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for
Peacekeeping. Representatives of the Georgian and Abkhaz sides and the Special
Representative of the Secretary-General participated in the meeting.
This meeting was convened out
of concern over tensions in the zone of conflict, the absence of dialogue
between the sides and the need to promote the set of confidence building
measures presented to the sides at the last Geneva meeting, which were
subsequently endorsed by the Security Council.
Abkhazia FM hails
meeting of Group of Friends on Georgia
Sukhum, Abkhazian Foreign Minister
Sergei Shamba on Friday hailed the results of a meeting of the U.N.
Secretary General’s Group of Friends on Georgia in Bonn on June 27 to
28, where “the main claims and criticism were addressed to the Georgian
“The main claims and criticism of the
Group of Friends were addressed to the Georgian side and they were
rather tough,” the foreign minister of Abkhazia told Tass by telephone
According to Shamba, the Group has
demanded from Tbilisi to immediately stop an expansion “of the area of
presence of Georgian police in the lower part of the Kodor gorge and
launch an investigation into that fact”.
Shamba said Sukhum had given consent to
the renewal of weekly four-party meetings in the Gal region with
participation of the Georgian and Abkhazian sides, as well as a
collective peacekeeping force in the zone of the Georgian-Ossetian
conflict and the U.N. observer mission in Georgia”.
“We believe this is the mechanism that
could ensure a certain level of security,” he stated.
The foreign minister reported that on the
results of the meeting in Bonn, the chairman of the Group of Friends,
Jean Marie Guehenno, circulated a statement, which stressed that seeing
security and peace as priority, the group expressed concern over reports
on the presence of unidentified armed persons in the lower part of the
Kodor gorge and urged the sides to look into and settle that issue.
of un-recognized republics strive for independence
Sukhum, The international community
cannot ignore the existence in the post-Soviet expanse of free states,
the will of their peoples for independence and their striving for
democratic values. This is said in the statement the Council of the
Inter-parliamentary Assembly of member-states of the Community for
Democracy and Human Rights adopted at its fourth meeting in Sukhum on
Tuesday. The heads of parliaments of the republics of Abkhazia, Dniester
and South Ossetia, as well as the Inter-parliamentary Assembly,
participated in the meeting.
“The very existence in the post-Soviet
expanse of free states with almost a millioned population cannot be
ignored, just as it is impossible to ignore people’s will for
independence, freedom and democratic values,” the final document says.
“One of the main tasks of the Community and of its activity is to bring
this will to the notice of the international community,” the
participants in the meeting hold.
Representatives of the supreme legislative
bodies of Abkhazia, Dniester region and South Ossetia commended Russia’s
most important role as the guarantor of the peace process in the
settlement of the Georgian-Abkhazian, Georgian-South Ossetian and
Moldovan-Dniester conflicts, as the guarantor of peace and security in
the Caucasus-Black Sea region.
The Inter-parliamentary Assembly regards
as the essence of its activity “juridical substantiation of the right to
international recognition of the states of the Community, the
development of democracy and harmonizing legislation.” In the economic
area, the Assembly “is doing its utmost to create favourable conditions
for the development of enterprise, economic activity and trade on the
territories of these republics, for ecological safety and common
guarantees of citizens’ rights.”
force in Abkhazia marks 13th anniversary
Sukhum, Republic of Abkhazia marks
the 13th anniversary of the CIS peacekeeping force (PKF) in Abkhazia.
Abkhazian president Sergei Bagapsh,
government officials, parliamentarians from the State Duma lower house
of Russian parliament, representatives from the U.N. mission in Georgia
as well as the peacekeeping force command paid tribute to the memory of
peacekeepers killed in the zone of the Georgia-Abkhazia conflict by
laying flowers to a monument to peacekeepers.
“In its 13-year history, the PKF has not
allowed an open armed confrontation between the conflicting sides.
Moreover, peacekeepers are trying to contribute in any way to a peaceful
and constructive dialogue, as they are sure that all problems and
disputes must be solved solely diplomatically, at the negotiating table
and not at a battlefield,” the commander of the CIS PKF stressed.
According to Major General Sergei Chaban,
“all reproaches to the peacekeeping mission that can be heard sometimes
are nothing more than the voice of certain interested persons, and they
have nothing to do with the opinion of the Abkhazian and Georgian people,
who see Russian peacekeepers as reliable support and guard in different
The chief of the Russian Army General
Staff, General Yuri Baluyevsky, has sent a message of greeting to
Russian peacekeepers. He said “the fact that there have been no combat
operations in the conflict zone for the past 13 years is the main result
of the PKF activity. Russian peacekeepers have paid a dear price for it,
as over 100 peacekeepers have been killed while performing their duty,”
“No statements by short-sighted
politicians with a demand to withdraw peacekeeping contingents, as well
as change the format of the operation, must not shake resolution of PKF
servicemen and their readiness to perform the set tasks,” the general
“Russia will keep following the earlier
reached agreements and will not let destabilize the situation in the
region,” Baluyevsky stressed.
form united stand on settling conflicts
Chisina, The foreign ministries of
the Dniester republic, Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Nagorno-Karabakh –
signed the Declaration on principles of a peaceful and just settlement
of conflicts in the territories of Moldova, Georgia, Armenia and
Azerbaijan. Its text was circulated on Sunday by the Foreign Ministry of
the Dniester republic.
The document runs that conflicts should be
settled only by peaceful political means on the basis of respect for
positions of all the sides of a conflict and unconditional recognition
of the right of peoples to self-determination. It precludes the use of
any forms of pressure at negotiations, including military, information,
economic, diplomatic and other measures.
Its authors called for respecting the will
of the peoples of Abkhazia, Nagorno-Karabakh, the Dniester republic and
South Ossetia, which mapped out their way of development during supreme
manifestations of direct diplomacy – nation-wide referendums.
They also agreed to set up guarantee
systems of a post-conflict settlement, including outside,
internationally-legal and economic guarantees, as well as guarantees of
security of peoples and observance of human rights as well as to ensure
clear-cut and unconditional implementation by the sides in conflicts of
The conclusive part of the document
expresses conviction that “respect of these principles by all subjects
of the international community, including Azerbaijan, Georgia and
Moldova, will create adequate prerequisites for the earliest and just
settlement of conflicts and will be a common contribution to
strengthening of international stability and protection of human rights”.
Following the signing of the document,
Dniester Foreign Minister Valery Litskai noted that while the Kosovo
problem would be discussed at the UN, the CIS breakaway states would
draft one more joint statement which would be forwarded to the UN
He expressed opinion that an inevitable
gain by Kosovo of independence would create a precedent for
self-proclaimed post-Soviet republics which look much more preferable,
taking into account maturity of their state institutions.
“We are 17 years old, while Kosovo is only
seven. Kosovars are far from international democratic standards so far.
They are still to hold elections and to form political institutions,”
joins Transdniester, Abkhazia and S.Ossetia in call for peace
Tiraspol, Four unrecognized
countries have taken a united stand on settling conflicts without the
use of violence. Transdniester, Abkhazia, South Ossetia and
Nagorno-Karabakh signed a joint appeal for peaceful settlement on
conflicts involving their territories. An earlier appeal to the United
Nations did not include Nagorno-Karabakh.
The foreign ministries of four
unrecognized countries – the Transdniester Republic, Abkhazia, South
Ossetia and Nagorno-Karabakh – signed the a joint declaration on
principles for peaceful and just settlement of their territorial
conflicts with Moldova, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan, respectively.
Its text was circulated on Sunday by the
Foreign Ministry of Transdniester (officially Pridnestrovskaia
Moldavskaia Respublica, or PMR, but also known under names such as
Transnistria or Trans-Dnestr).
Key to the document is the appeal that
conflicts should be settled only by peaceful political means on the
basis of respect for the views of all the sides of a conflict, taking
into account the right of peoples to self-determination.
It condemns the use of any forms of
pressure at negotiations, be it open violence - such as military action
- or covert violence, including dis-information wars, economic blockades
and sanctions, diplomatic isolation and other measures which result in
unfair pressure on the weaker side of the negotiations.
Message to Moldova: Respect int'l law
In addition to their appeal for
non-violence and a democratic status settlement, the four foreign
ministers agreed to set up international guarantee systems of a
post-conflict settlement. Such international involvement would include
outside guarantees of the observance of international law and economic
guarantees, as well as guarantees of their peoples' security and
observance of human rights by all sides to the conflicts.
The document concludes by expressing the
conviction that “respect of these principles by all subjects of the
international community, including Azerbaijan, Georgia and Moldova, will
create adequate prerequisites for the earliest and just settlement of
conflicts and will be a common contribution to strengthening of
international stability and protection of human rights”.
Following the signing of the document,
Transdniester Foreign Minister Valeri Litskai said that eventual
independence of Kosovo would create a precedent for his own country,
taking into account the maturity of Transdniester's statehood and its
“- We are 17 years old, while Kosovo is
only seven. Kosovars are a long way from international democratic
standards so far,” said PMR's Valeri Litskai.
The other three signatories to the
document are also older than Kosovo, being each 15 or 16 years old. Of
the four, Pridnestrovie (Transdniester) was the first to declare
independence: It did so in 1990, one year before the Republic of Moldova
became an independent country. Although Transdniester was legally a part
of the former Moldavian SSR within the Soviet Union, Transdniester has
never legally been a part of the new Republic of Moldova following the
fall of the Soviet Union.
The signature of Nagorno-Karabakh on the
declaration is a departure from recent policy.
Nagorno-Karabakh differs from other "frozen
conflicts" in the ex-Soviet Union in that it has repeatedly received
funding from the United States Congress. Throughout the 1990s, NKR's
independence leaders collaborated with other unrecognized countries, but
at the advice of American consultants they withdrew their close ties.
Washington felt that it was not beneficial for NKR to be lumped with
Abkhazia and Pridnestrovie (Transdniester) and the "handlers" held out
the promise of quick international independence recognition if
Nagorno-Karabakh would seek its own way.
No such promise materialized and
Nagorno-Karabakh is now again inching closer to the other unrecognized
countries in the region.
Discussions are underway for
Nagorno-Karabakh to join the Community for Democracy and Human Rights,
an international governmental organization founded by the three other
unrecognized countries on the post-Soviet space. NKR currently
participates with observer sates, but the Secretary-General of the
group's Interparliamentary Assembly says that this is likely to change.
“- The full membership of the Parliament
of Nagorno Karabakh in the Assembly as well as the membership of other
partially recognized states is under discussion," said Grigory Marakutsa,
an ethnic Moldovan from Pridnestrovie (Transdniester) who was formerly
Speaker of the PMR Parliament. (With information from Itar-Tass)
delegation from Singapore to study economic potential of Abkhazia - MFA
Business delegation from Singapore arrived
in Abkhazia. The main purpose of the visit is familiarization with the
economic potential of Abkhazia and discussion of the prospects for
Singaporean investment in the economy.
"This will be not only about investments.
Our partners from Singapore are not ready to invest without appropriate
conditions and guarantees. Therefore, it would be about how to create
such conditions and guarantees. And these are issues related to the
reform legislation as well," said Deputy Foreign Minister Maxim Gunjia.
On June 15 the delegation will meet with
the President, the government, as well as representatives of the Abkhaz
business. Heads of several major Singaporean companies are among the
members of the delegation.
1. July new rates of customs duties on import alcohol to come into
operation - Cabinet of Ministers
Sukhum, From 1
July there will be an increase in customs duties on import alcohol.
Prime Minister Alexander Ankuab signed a decision.
The cost of an excise tax
on unit will be as follows: wine- 30 cents (were 3), vodka and other
strong drinks- 60 cents (were 30).
The government intends to
tighten control over the flow of alcohol into the country.
In the new season
tourists to be served only by certified service facilities - Government
structures completed monitoring of service objects in the tourist
centers of Abkhazia.
According to the received
information, up to 70% of nutrition objects in tourist centers such as
Lake Ritsa Novi Afon do not comply with the requirements.
During a visit to Gagra
the Prime Minister Alexander Ankuab said that in the new season tourists
will be served only by certified service facilities.
The owners of nutrition
objects still have time to bring the quality of their work in compliance
with the standards. In turn, owners of many of them argue that the main
reason for the low quality of service is the lack of funds necessary for
the repair and modernization.
Mayor of Gagra Astamur
Ketsba expects that in the season of 2007 the number of tourists who
will spend holidays in Gagra and Pitsunda will increase substantially
compared to last year.
to be the key point to settlement of the conflict - President
Sukhum, Head of
State Sergei Bagapsh met a special representative of the European Union
on South Caucasus Peter Semneby.
The EU is expected to
represent to the official Sukhum a programme of EU activity and projects
in Abkhazia. As P. Semneby noted, the plan involves mikrocommercial
projects, supporting the development of civil society and other projects.
President Sergei Bagapsh
thanked the EU for its assistance and reiterated the readiness of the
Abkhaz side for a dialogue to resolve the conflict with Georgia.
"Civilized dialogue is
the key point to the settlement of the conflict. We hope for
understanding from the Georgian side and its readiness to establish
normal, civilized relations. We will continue to insist on concrete
solutions to specific issues. Stable and effective relations between our
countries depend on such decisions as the agreement on non-resumption of
hostilities and the lifting of the embargo", said Sergei Bagapsh.
At the same time the
President of Abkhazia noted that the Abkhaz side is concerned with the
military rhetoric of the Georgian authorities. "It is difficult to talk
about peace with a country that refuses to sign a treaty on the
non-renewal of hostilities," stressed Bagapsh.
In turn, the EU special
representative on South Caucasus Peter Semneby reiterated that the
international community will exert every effort to resolve the conflict
only by peaceful means.
not building new bases in Abkhazia - ministry
Moscow/Tbilisi, Spokesman of the Russian Defense Ministry Col. Vyacheslav Sedov has
denied Georgian claims that Russia plans to begin construction of a new
military base in Abkhazia.
"Russia is not building any new military
bases on Abkhaz territory. People who obviously do not want to see
normalization of Russian-Georgian relations likely came up with those
statements," Sedov told Interfax-AVN on Monday. "In fact, Russia is
fully complying with the obligations contained in the Istanbul
agreements to withdraw its bases from Georgia," he said.
"The withdrawal schedule has been
coordinated with Georgia, and we are fully complying with it," the
Independence Will Help
In a joint statement, the leaders of
South Ossetia have declared that the
independence of Kosova should help them get international recognition.
The leaders of
Abkhazia and South Ossetia appealed to the United Nations on Monday [4
June 2007] to put them in line for international recognition after
Serbia's breakaway province of Kosovo.
Bagapsh and South Ossetia's Eduard Kokoity also said they hoped for
stronger support from
now that it finds itself increasingly at odds with the West.
"If Kosovo is
Serbia and its
independence is recognized, one more powerful proof will emerge that
ethnic conflicts can be solved on principles other than a respect for
territorial integrity," they said in a statement released after a
regular meeting in
Moscow. "Abkhazia and
South Ossetia have just as strong
grounds to demand independence as Kosovo."
Georgia-Abkhazia settlement suspended – Bagapsh
Moscow, Abkhazian president Sergei
Bagapsh said it is the first time in 12 years the talks on the
settlement of the Georgian-Abkhazian conflict were suspended.
Speaking at a press conference on Monday,
the Abkhazian leader said, “After Georgia captured our citizens in the
Gal district of Abkhazia and make regular attempts to provoke us to use
force against Georgia’s young people from the youth camp on the border
in the Zurdidi district, we fully interrupted the talks with the
“Recently we have released detained
Georgian students and sent them to their parents. Thus, Abkhazia made a
goodwill gesture and hoped that the Georgian leadership took return
steps. But unfortunately, we saw the Georgian leadership to take new
steps towards destabilising the situation. That is why Sukhum will not
make any more compromises with Tbilisi,” Bagapsh stressed.
He also said Georgia consciously sought to
aggravate the situation on the eve of the vacation season in Abkhazia in
order to wreck it. “But we do not admit it. This year Abkhazia expects
the vacation season to be better than last year.”
Bagapsh said all vouchers to Abkhazian
health resorts had been already bought before September. In 2006
Abkhazia accepted over one million vacationers.
Abkhazia, S Ossetia sign statement on Kosovo
Moscow, Leaders of Abkhazia and
South Ossetia signed a joint statement on Kosovo on Monday.
In their statement Sergei Bagapsh and
Eduard Kokoity said their republics have more reasons than Kosovo for
raising the question of self-determination.
Speaking at a press conference, Kokoity
said, “We signed the statement, which is addressed to the U.N.
secretary-general, the secretary-general of the Council of Europe and
heads of other international organisations in order to represent
Abkhazia’s and South Ossetia’s position on the recognition of Kosovo’s
“If independence of Kosovo is recognised,
this will give us more rights to be recognised sovereign republics,”
Kokoity stressed. In his words, Sukhum and Tskhinvali “have more rights
than Kosovo to be recognised independent.”
Bagapsh said, “If Kosovo is recognised
independent or not, this will step up the process of recognising
independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.”