EU envoy meets
with senior Abkhazian officials
Abkhazia calls more attention than ever to itself from the West through
its efforts to follow in the footsteps of Kosovo in earning
international recognition, an envoy of European Union (EU) began on
Friday a trip to Sukhum, capital of Abkhazia.
Before an envoy of
ambassadors from 15 EU countries made their way through Sukhum,
Abkhazia’s President Sergei Bagapsh issued a statement of gratefulness
for care by foreign countries to know about the stance of Abkhazia from
the Abkhazian officials, and added that Sukhum would remain steadfast in
its policies on independence. The EU would not be able to persuade
Abkhazia to appreciate the territorial totality of and to become part of
it again, said Bagapsh.
“All diplomats, envoys
and journalists who happen to come to Abkhazia are looking for a way to
have inside information about the attitude of Abkhazia towards
negotiations between Georgia and Abkhazia. People do know about our
attitude and we will not deviate from it,” said Bagapsh. “We will try to
convey to the EU envoy information about what the administration of
Abkhazia regards as the right thing to do, about whom it will establish
relations with, about how it will continue to exist, and about what it
will demand to happen. We are resolutely determined to found an
independent state and nothing can force us to give up this idea of
The administration of
Abkhazia would try to convey to the EU envoy the message that Abkhazia
does not pursue an aggressive line of policies and it will be willing to
if the Georgian administration
fulfils the requisites of the Moscow Armistice, said the president. “In
order for the negotiations to resume, must withdraw its troops from
Upper Kodor and sign a peace accord as
a promise not to resort to military force again,” he added.
When asked to comment
on ’s pursuance of NATO membership, Bagapsh said that it was entirely
left up to to decide whom to align with; “however,” he added, “it is
left to us to decide how we will exist and what kind of military,
economic and political existence we will adopt.”
In his address on May
12 to reporters, President Mikheil Saakashvili of called the EU on to
have an on-the-spot observation of what had recently been doing in
Georgia and Abkhazia broke off in July 2006 when located some of its
Abkhazia will host on
June 6 Javier Solana, High Representative for the Common Foreign and
Security Policy (CFSP) and the Secretary-General of both the Council of
the European Union (EU).
Minister to come to Turkey
Istanbul, Foreign Minister Sergei
Shamba of Abkhazia will be in Turkey on June 2 as a guest of the
Caucasus-Abkhaz Solidarity Committee.
Shamba will attend some meetings both in
Istanbul and Ankara to convey his country's efforts to gain
international recognition and he will later meet with members of the
Abkhaz diaspora as well.
Abkhazia's President Sergei Bagapsh's trip
to Turkey last October was cancelled when the Georgian diaspora placed
pressure on the Turkish Foreign Ministry not to let him in the country.
This is the first time since then that an Abkhazian senior official will
be in Turkey.
According to information that the Chairman
Irfan Argun of Caucasus-Abkhaz Solidarity Committee provided, Shamba
will be in Istanbul on June 2. He will meet at 9 p.m. on the same day
with representatives of the Abkhaz Diaspora in the building of the
Caucasus-Abkhaz Cultural Association. He will respond to questions about
what is going on around Abkhazia.
While Shamba will be en route to Ankara on
June 3, he will stop by the villages that host the Abkhaz people. On
June 4, Shamba will have a breakfast with journalists. He will also have
a meeting with some academicians and think-tank institutions later in
the day. Shamba will attend the Night of Abkhazia celebrations to be
held at Hilton, Ankara, at 8 p.m. While he will be en route back to
Istanbul on June 5, he will again stop by the villages that host the
Abkhaz population. The Abkhazian Foreign Minister will return to his
country on June 6.
likely to lose Abkhazia
Ambassadors from 15 countries of the
European Union will come to Sukhum, capital of the Republic of Abkhazia,
on Friday to discuss means of resuming Abkhazian-Georgian dialogue.
However, the diplomats' main goal will be
to lure Abkhazia away from Russia's influence. Analysts say Georgia,
which is eager to join NATO, will have to make major concessions to the
republic of Abkhazia.
Igor Akhba, Abkhazia's representative in
Moscow, said: "The EU diplomats want to push Russia away from the
negotiations, although Russia is successfully fulfilling its tasks,
above all peacekeeping ones."
The three-way talks between Abkhazia,
Georgia and Russia are proceeding under the auspices of the UN
Coordinating Council in Geneva. "We think it would be inefficient to
change the format," Akhba said.
Alexei Malashenko, a researcher at the
Carnegie Moscow Center, said the EU diplomats would be unable to
immediately split Abkhazia from Russia.
"However, this is a serious move showing
that the EU is beginning talks with Abkhazia," Malashenko said.
"The triangle may become a square. If
Europe acts maximally energetically, Georgia, which is eager to join
NATO, will have to make major concessions to Abkhazia."
Malashenko admits that Abkhazia may accept
some of the EU's proposals.
"Abkhazia will have quite a few issues to
consider, unless it wants to world to see it as merely a Russian
protectorate," the expert said. "The EU could tempt Abkhazia with the
Kosovo scenario, which promises territorial autonomy under the EU
protection, if not full independence. This scenario is quite probable,
but in this case Abkhazia will have to cede the Gal District or turn it
into an autonomous district within the republic."
"In any case, the EU has apparently
decided to deal with Abkhazia, and Georgia is coming to see that it will
have to part with Abkhazia," Malashenko said. "It no longer can stamp
its feet and shout 'No independence'."
Russia has no
relation to Georgian spy planes downing in Abkhazia - Bagapsh
All seven Israeli-made planes in Georgia’s Air Force have been shot down
by Abkhazian air defence systems, the president of the republic of
Abkhazia, Sergei Bagapsh, said on Monday.
“Russia has nothing to do with any of the
Georgian spy planes shot down over Abkhazia,” eh said, adding that seven
planes had been downed since March 18.
The Russian Defence Ministry has also
denied a U.N. Observer Mission in Georgia (UNMIG) report on the April 20
air incident in the zone of the Georgian-Abkhazian conflict.
The report claimed that a Russian aircraft
had shot down a Georgian unmanned reconnaissance plane over Abkhazia.
“There can be no question of violation of
the state border with Georgia, let alone the shooting down of an
unmanned aircraft,” the ministry’s spokesman Alexander Drobyshevsky said.
“On April 20, Russian Air Force planes
made no flights near Georgia,” he said.
The U.N. Observer Mission said in its
report that the Georgian spy plane was shot down by a Russian plane over
Abkhazia on April 20.
Referring to radar data, the mission said
that an unmanned reconnaissance aircraft had been shot down by a MiG-29
or a Su-27 jet plane that then turned north and entered Russian’s
“Absent compelling evidence to the
contrary, this leads to the conclusion that the aircraft belonged to the
Russian air force,” the mission’s report posted on its website said.
“The Mission reiterates its position
stated to the Georgian Minister of Defence on 7 April 2008 that the
overflight of the zone of conflict by surveillance aircraft constitutes
a breach of the Moscow Agreement,” the report said.
Dancing the fast
Istanbul, Turkey’s policy toward
Georgia, seen by Turkey as key to becoming an energy corridor to
Caucasian and Central Asian energy resources, is fundamentally flawed
because it is based on NATO and US policies and contradicts its own
regional strategy, experts say.
Burgeoning trade relations and joint
energy projects undertaken with Georgia has not taken Turkey, which
usually prefers to follow NATO's and United States lead in dealing with
its northeastern neighbor, toward an independent foreign policy.
Despite the fact that Georgia once again
re-elected pro-Western Mikhail Saakashvili as its president in elections
last week, the ex-soviet country is far from stability, with the
opposition contesting the results and tensions with Abkhazia and South
Ossetia, threatening to engulf the whole region.
The tensions with Russia over Abkhazia
reached a new crescendo before the elections, with Saakashvili who came
to power after the so-called "Rose Revolution” in 2004, utilizing it to
his own benefit and bringing the two countries close to war.
Abkhazia declared independence from
Georgia in 1994, but Tbilisi continues to regard it as a breakaway
region, as the international community does.
Georgia is crucial in Turkey's efforts to
channel Azerbaijani and Central Asian energy resources to the rest of
the world. The tension in Georgia, however, does not bid well for the
plans. Despite the country's key problems, Turkey does not follow an
independent policy toward Georgia and seeks to counterbalance Russian
influence through proxies like the United States and NATO.
Turkey has three priorities for the
Caucasus: To improve independence of South Caucasian republics, to
defend their territorial integrity and to play an active role in the
transfer of Caspian Sea energy resources, Hasan Kanbolat, Caucus expert
of Center for Eurasia Studies, or ASAM, said.
Kanbolat told the Turkish Daily News that
Turkey's relation with Georgia has “both pluses and minuses.” From a
trade point of view, he said, “Turkey's foreign trade capacity has grown
in five years from $240 million to $800 million. And also, the two
countries have signed a Free Trade Agreement and are cooperating
militarily. Turkey supports Georgia with military equipment and some
Georgian military personnel are educated in Turkey.”
“Turkey, which advocates territorial
integrity for all South Caucasus, puts special emphasis on the integrity
A Central Asia expert at the Ankara-based
think tank Global Strategy, Aslan Yavuzşir agreed and added, “We know
that Turkey's peace and stability mission in the Caucasus is supported
by the Western nations.”
Still, Yavuzşir said the policy was flawed
because the policy ignored the sentiments of its own Caucasian citizens.
He asked, “Is this pro-Western strategy consistent with Turkey's own
Policy based on Turks:
Sezai Babakuş, a predominant figure in the
Abkhazian community in Turkey and the founder of the Celebrity Speakers
Association, or CSA, told the Turkish Daily News that Turkey's foreign
policy toward Georgia was neither rational nor comprehensive.
“Turkey's foreign policy toward the
Caucasus is influenced by nationalism and Turkic groups there, same as
it is in northern Iraq,” he said.
In Iraq, Turkey is following the United
States' lead and bases its stance on the fate of the Turkmen minority in
northern Iraq, Babakuş argued. “In Iraq, Turkey ignores the Kurds to the
detriment of its own Kurds. In the Caucasus, its policy is based on
Azeris, Meskets, Karapapaks, Balkar and Karachai minorities while it
ignores the Circassians. Consequently it hurts its citizens of
Circassian extraction,” he added.
Babakuş, who also worked for Abkhazia's
government between 1990-1996, said, “In fact, this is a reflection of an
internal policy fundamentally based on Turkishness."
Global Strategy's Yavuzşir agreed, noting,
“Turkey, in some instances, took decisions that could hamper its
relations with its own Caucasus-rooted citizens. But it should handle
the Caucasus in a bilateral way and develop pro-active policies. In
brief Turkey has no long-term policies for the Caucasus.”
Relations with Abkhazia:
Babakuş claimed that Turkey was militarily
supporting Georgia against Abkhazia. “In 1992, Georgia attacked Abkhazia
with political support from Turkey. Today that support is growing with
military means. Georgia is bolstering its forces near the Abkhazian
border. Thus, Turkey may be indirectly responsible for a potential war
between Georgia and Abkhazia."
"Turkey's support to Georgia angers its
own Abkhazian community. The country closed direct travel to Abkhazia,
and the Trabzon-Sukhum sea route was also closed in 1995," Babakuş said.
"From 1992 to date, governments tried to bar our support to Abkhazia and
as a result, they have lost the confidence of the Abkhazian community."
"For Abkhazians, there is only one way: To
defend the motherland against aggressors," Babakuş said.
Yavuzşir said there was a humanitarian
tragedy in Abkazia, “The region is isolated from the world and Turkey is
impassive to this fact.”
Kanbolat said, “Turkey has the opportunity
to develop relations with Abkhazia, which is isolated from the
international community. At least it can develop a minimum relation with
this region, as Georgia did. Georgia has had economic, commercial and
cultural relations with Abkhazia. If Turkey's relation with Abkhazia
improved, Russia would not be the only outside access for Abkhazia
Just like Ukraine, Georgia is seen as a
conflict zone between the West and Russia, Yauzşir believes. “Georgia
may prefer to improve relations with Russia. But in that case,
negotiation with Russia would damage his credibility back in Tbilisi. As
a matter of fact, the Saakashvili government does not have the capacity
for such a negotiation. A new government is needed,” he said.
On Abkhazia, there are two extreme
scenarios, Kanbolat said. “Georgia could recognize the independence of
breakaway regions, or declare war. Saakashvili should decide what to do.
Tbilisi may reach an agreement or attack both Abkhazia and South Ossetia,”
According to Kanbolat, in the light of
recent developments, a conflict is more likely. “In Georgia people
believe that "Russia is pushing Georgia into a war, because Moscow
predicts defeat for Georgia and after that it'll create a new 'Russian
style' administration in Georgia," he said.
“A possible conflict would affect Turkey
directly, as we witnessed during the 1992 Abkhazia War. But in a new
intervention, the impact on Turkey would be much worse, due to the
Abkhazian diaspora in Turkey,” Kanbolat added.
Professor Özkan Açıkgöz from the Turkish
Asian Center for Strategic Studies, or TASAM, said after Kosovo's
declaration of independence, “Russia gambled with the destiny of
Abkhazia and South Ossetia and sent a message to the world that the same
may happen in Georgia.”
“But Russia understands that it's in a
wrong path, and Moscow gave up its insistence on the independence of
Abkhazia and S. Ossetia,” he claimed.
“Possible military unrest in the region
would negatively affect Turkey's regional trade, it would irk Turkish
Abkhazians and more importantly, would result in a new wave of migration
to Turkey,” Açıkgöz said.
Turkish Daily News
Russia to rotate
peacekeepers in Abkhazia by June 2
A rotation of Russian peacekeepers in Abkhazia will be conducted between
May 25 and June 2, the Defense Ministry said on Friday.
The command staff of the Collective CIS
Peacekeeping Force had earlier said the rotation would be over on May
The Peacekeeping Force Headquarters said
that 500 Russian troops would be replaced in line with a May 1994
ceasefire agreement and a mandate on peacekeeping operations in the
Russian peacekeepers have been deployed in
Abkhazia and South Ossetia since the 1990s. Moscow recently bolstered
the number of its peacekeepers in Abkhazia in response to a Georgian
troop build-up, but said the increase was still within previously agreed
limits of 3,000 soldiers.
Relations between Moscow and Tbilisi have
drastically deteriorated since Russia's former president Vladimir Putin
called for closer ties between Moscow and the two republics (Abkhazia
and South Ossetia) in mid-April.
Georgia has accused Russia of trying to
annex Abkhazia and South Ossetia, while Moscow says Tbilisi is planning
to invade Abkhazia.
don’t buy land from Abkhazia
President Sergei Bagapsh of Abkhazia rejected that the recent rise in
the real estate prices in Abkhazia resulted from purchases of land by
Russian bureaucrats and businessmen prior to the Sochi 2014 Olympic
“We don’t sell land,”
Bagapsh told reporters in
Moscow, capital of , “because we don’t sell land.
The state organization controls as well as grants parliamentary approval
to every privatization of real estates in Abkhazia.”
Bagapsh also rejected
Moscow ’s Mayor Yuri Lujkov purchased a
huge area of Abkhazian land for building. “The fact is that Lujkov has
not bought anything from Abkhazia. We allocated an area for the
construction of Moscow House and offered another area for the
construction of a sanatorium.”
The rise in the prices
of Abkhazian real estates is a consequence of the improved national
security as well as of the financial tendency, popular with Abkhazians
nowadays, toward , according to Bagapsh.
Bagapsh's visit to
President Sergei Bagapsh of Abkhazia's trip on May 20 to Moscow, capital
of Russia, to make his first official contact with the newly appointed
administration of Russia was cast a shadow over by a claim of Russian
daily Kommersant that Bagapsh will have negotiations with Russian
officials over a peace agreement with Georgia.
Foreign Minister of Abkhazia, rejected Kommersant's claim and said with
stress that Bagapsh would be in Russia to have meetings with Russian
officials over what to do to improve the relations between his country
and Russia. Vladimir Putin, Prime Minister of Russia, ordered that the
Russian administration should make efforts to improve its relations with
Abkhazia while he was holding his position as President.
said that Bagapsh would meet with Sergei Lavrov, Foreign Minister of
Russia, to discuss how to establish 'institutional' relations between
the two countries. "The president will only be in Moscow to discuss what
can be done to put into effect the order that Putin gave while he was
the president," said Shamba to reject Kommersant's claim that Bagapsh
would be in Moscow to seek approval from Russian officials for a peace
accord between Georgia and Abkhazia.
Kommersant, Irakli Alasanya, Georgia's permanent representative at the
United Nations, or UN, offered a wide-scale peace accord to the
Abkhazian administration when he made a trip to Sukhum last week. The
peace accord proposed that a non-agression agreement should be signed
between the two countries in exchange for permission to be granted to
Georgian refugees to return home who left Abkhazia during the war in
1992 and 1993. It also proposed that Georgian forces should withdraw
from Upper Kodor. Bagapsh then defied rumors that Sukhum approached
Tbilisi to sign a peace accord. "Abkhazia will never compromise its
ideal of full independence," said Bagapsh. "We can only be willing to
negotiate if Georgia withdraws from Kodor."
coming from Georgia-Abkhazia conflict zone
Tbilissi, Conflicting information
is coming from the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict zone, following reports of
gunfire along the border and bus explosions that left several people
Georgia's Interior Minister accused
Abkhazia Wednesday of blowing up two buses and being involved in a
shootout along the border.
"We confirm that two buses were blown up
in today's incident in the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict zone. There are no
reports of fatalities, but there is information that the injured are
being taken to Zugdidi hospital," a deputy Georgian interior minister
But Abkhaz President Sergei Bagapsh
dismissed the Georgian media reports: "No such thing happened," adding
that according to his information, the incidents had occurred on
Georgian rather than Abkhaz territory.
Other media sources said that the two
buses had come under Abkhaz gunfire.
Tensions have escalated between Georgia
and Abkhazia recently following the shooting down of a number of
Georgian surveillance planes. Both sides have accused each other of
preparing for armed conflict.
The Georgian ministry also said that the
authorities in Abkhazia had prevented Georgians living in Abkhazia's Gal
District from participating in Wednesday's parliamentary polls.
Sergei Bagapash denied the claims saying
that Georgians living in the area had shown no interest in casting their
Abkhazia said Russian peacekeepers had
been sent to the border between Georgia and Abkhazia to prevent a
further escalation in violence.
"Representatives of Russian peacekeepers
and UN military observer missions have headed to the site to clarify the
reports [of the shooting]," the Abkhaz presidential envoy in the Gal
District told RIA Novosti.
Relations between Moscow and Tbilisi have
drastically deteriorated since Russia's former president Vladimir Putin
called for closer ties between Moscow and the two republics Abkhazia and
South Ossetia in mid-April.
Georgia has accused Russia of trying to
annex Abkhazia and South Ossetia, while Moscow says Tbilisi is planning
to invade Abkhazia.
foreign ministers discuss Abkhazia and South Ossetia
Moscow, Foreign ministers from
Russia and France discussed the ongoing row surrounding republics of
South Ossetia and Abkhazia during their meeting in Moscow on Wednesday.
Georgia is looking to regain control over
Abkhazia and South Ossetia, after they broke away in the early 1990s
following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Russia's open support for
the two republics has led to a rapid deterioration in relations between
Moscow and Tbilisi.
Speaking with Russian Foreign Minister
Sergei Lavrov, his French counterpart Bernard Kouchner said that a
military solution for Abkhazia is 'impossible.'
The French diplomat said that Paris's
position on the issue was unchanged and France still considers Abkhazia
a part of Georgia.
The Russian Foreign Minister said in turn
that further developments with Abkhazia depended solely on Tbilisi and
the countries, which are pushing Georgia to join NATO.
"We fully understand that to prevent a
military solution... the decision should be reached in Tbilisi and the
capitals [of the countries], which are trying to drag Georgia into
NATO," Lavrov said.
Georgia has been seeking NATO membership,
backed by the U.S., ever since President Mikheil Saakashvili came to
power in 2004 on the back of a bloodless revolution. At a NATO summit in
early April, NATO powers voted against admitting Georgia to the
alliance's Membership Plan, but said they would review the bid at the
end of the year.
Located on a key Europe-bound route for
Caspian oil and natural gas, Georgia has been at the center of a
struggle for influence between the West and Russia since the collapse of
the Soviet Union.
Georgia promises not
to attack Abkhazia
Moscow, Georgia's ambassador to
Russia gave firm assurances on Tuesday that his country has no intention
of resorting to military action to regain control over Abkhazia.
Georgia has accused Russia of trying to
annex Abkhazia along with South Ossetia while Moscow says Tbilisi is
planning to invade Abkhazia.
"I don't know how I can prove to you that
we have no intention of making war. I swear by my mother that we are not
going to war," Erosi Kitsmarishvili told reporters in Moscow.
However, he said that Georgian unmanned
surveillance aircraft would continue to fly over Abkhaz territory,
despite objections from Abkhazia.
"Both the president and the defense
minister have said [drones] will continue to fly," the envoy said.
Abkhazia claims to have shot down several
Georgian drones, while Tbilisi says only one aircraft has been lost.
Abkhazia and Russia accuse Georgia of
violating a ceasefire agreement signed in Moscow in 1994 and UN Security
Council resolution 1808 passed on April 15 this year, banning military
activity in the conflict zone.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov
said earlier on Tuesday: "Contrary to the Moscow agreement, Georgia is
concentrating its troops on the border with conflict zones, is buying
more offensive armaments."
Earlier today, Taimuraz Mamsurov, the
president of Russia's republic of North Ossetia, asked foreign
ambassadors to Russia for assistance in the republic's unification with
Between 10,000 and 30,000 people were
killed in the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict that broke out after the collapse
of the Soviet Union.
alleged plan to settle Georgia-Abkhazia conflict
Sukhum, Abkhazian leader Sergei
Bagapsh has denied recent media reports that Tbilisi and Sukhum had
allegedly “reached agreement on a plan to peacefully settle” the
Georgia-Abkhazia conflict. “This information is not true,” he told
Itar-Tass on Monday.
Abkhazia is continuing to insist on the
complete withdrawal of Georgian military units from the upper part of
the Kodor Gorge and on the situation being brought in line with the
Moscow Ceasefire and Disengagement Agreement of May 14, 1994. “Precisely
this gross violation of the said founding agreement had torpedoed the
process of negotiations” between the sides involved in the conflict, the
Abkhazian president noted.
As to the repatriation of refugees,
Bagapsh said the world knows no analogue, comparable to Abkhazia, to
which up to 60,000 refugees had returned after the armed conflict in the
republic. Bagapsh said the recommendation resolution of the U.N. General
Assembly on refugees from Abkhazia was not objective because the
document was “approved without due account of the Abkhazian view and
because it was based on materials submitted by only one party to the
conflict – the Georgian side”.
Head of the Presidential Administration
Valery Arshba told Itar-Tass that the president of Abkhazia would fly to
Moscow for a working visit on Monday. “Bagapsh will spend the two days
of his stay in Russia on the discussion of economic problems,” Arshba
agree peace plan
Moscow, Georgia and Abkhazia have
drawn up a plan to resolve their long-running conflict, a Russian
business daily reported on Monday.
Kommersant said the province's leader,
Sergei Bagapsh, will be discussing the issue during his visit to Moscow
Kommersant, citing sources in the
Abkhazia's government, said that as a first step the sides intend, with
Moscow's mediation, to sign an agreement on the non-use of force, the
return of Georgian refugees to
and the withdrawal of Georgian troops from the upper part of Abkhazia's
"We have reached a basic agreement on the
main issues on the bilateral level, but there are still a number of
loose ends," the paper quoted Abkhaz Foreign Minister Sergei Shamba as
However, Shamba later told RIA Novosti
that the paper had misquoted him, and that the Abkhaz president's visit
to Moscow was not related to the resumption of talks between Georgia and
the rebel region, which were broken off after Tbilisi deployed troops in
the Kodor gorge.
"This is not the purpose of Bagapsh's
visit to Moscow. It is a working visit," he said.
The sides have not reached any accords on
a peace settlement and have signed no agreements, the minister said.
During his three-day visit, Bagapsh is to
meet with top Russian officials, including Foreign Minister Sergei
Lavrov, the diplomat said.
Speaking to RIA Novosti, President Bagapsh
confirmed that no agreements with Georgia have yet been reached.
"There are no accords so far," he said.
South Ossetia and Abkhazia, another rebel
province, broke away from Georgia in the early 1990s following the
collapse of the Soviet Union. Between 10,000 and 30,000 people were
killed in the Georgian-Abkhazian conflict and some 3,000 in
Georgian-South Ossetian hostilities.
Georgia is looking to regain control over
the two de facto independent republics, and accuses Russia of trying to
Relations between Moscow and Tbilisi have
drastically deteriorated since the Kremlin called for closer ties with
Abkhazia and South Ossetia in mid-April.
Russia recently increased the number of
its peacekeepers in Abkhazia but said the rise was within the limits of
agreements on troop numbers signed by the Georgian leadership.
to obtain material from Abkhazia for use in Sochi
Gagra, Russia will obtain from
Abkhazia material such as gravel and sand for use in rough construction
work in Sochi for the 2014 Olympic Winter Games.
The agreement of cooperation was signed on
May 16 in Gagra. It was President Sergei Bagapsh from Abkhazia and
Aleksandr Tkachev from Krasnodar Krai who put their signatures on the
It is estimated that the transportation of
over 100mn tones of material will begin in two months or three.
"We are thinking of using natural sources
available in Abkhazia when we obtain millions of tones of sand and
gravel for use in infra-structural building," said Tkachev.
It was better to get the materials in
question not from Russian sources 200 or 300 kilometers away but from
Abkhazia ones 30 or 40 kilometers away, said Tkachev: "We will towards
the realization of what we have set to do within the framework of an
agreement. We will also work jointly to make it possible to move
materials from Abkhazia to Sochi by sea or railway."
Tkachev said that it was better to have
things done at a low cost to meet high standards of quality, and added
that this agreement would help the Abkhazian economy to flourish. "Krasnodar
Krai will be a reliable partner for the Abkhazian administration to
enjoy working with."
Let Abkhazia have
freedom and openness, recommends Wall Street Journal
Abkhazia is now virtually lost to Georgia
says one of the world's largest newspapers. In its latest editorial on
Abkhazia, The Wall Street Journal recommends a policy of freedom and
openness instead of blockades and isolation. Georgia should lift
sanctions and allow Abkhazia to freely trade with all of its neighbors.
New York, In its latest editorial
on the 'de facto' independent republic of Abkhazia, New York based
The Wall Street Journal recommends freedom and openness for the new
and emerging country.
The Wall Street Journal is one of the
largest American newspapers and has a worldwide daily circulation of
more than 2 million, along with 931,000 paying online subscribers.
The newspaper's recommendation comes less
than two months after Kosovo declared independence, and at a time when
Abkhaz-Georgian-Russian tensions have been putting peacekeepers in the
region on high alert.
In its op-ed, The Wall Street Journal also
admits that Abkhazia is probably not going to be part of Georgia ever
From the newspaper:
"Abkhazia is now virtually lost to
Georgia — almost as lost as Kosovo is to Serbia. The only chance for
Tbilisi to reverse this process and see Georgian refugees ever
returning to their home is, paradoxically, to let go. Tbilisi should
open up Abkhazia and free it from dependence on Russia. That means
lifting sanctions and permitting a sea link to Turkey and the
re-opening of a railway line connecting it with Western Georgia."
To slow down the nation building efforts
of Abkhazia, Georgia and Russia have both had long-standing air, sea and
transport blockades in place for years.
Russia recently lifted its blockade and is
now allowing transport links with Abkhazia to function normally. However,
Georgia still maintains its blockade and its policy of isolating the
Abkhazian population. Ships attempting to reach the Black Sea ports of
Abkhazia are also turned back at sea as a result of the military
blockade imposed by Georgia.
Not part of Georgia
Abkhazia is today a de facto
independent republic which has not yet gotten formal international
recognition. It is located between Georgia and Russia on the eastern
coast of the Black Sea. The capital is Sukhum.
Unlike Kosovo, which was Serbia's
historical heartland, Abkhazia was never a traditional historical or
ethnic part of Georgia. In the same way, Pridnestrovie (Transdniestria)
has no historical or ethnic-majority ties to Moldova.
Following the fall of the Soviet Union in
late 1991, Abkhazia declared independence from Georgia in 1992 and
subsequently fought for independence from 1992 to 1993. The independence
war resulted in Georgia's military defeat, with Georgians leaving
Abkhazia, and subsequently the signing of a ceasefire accord in 1994
which is today monitored by military observers from the United Nations.
Abkhazia was once an independent
kingdom, and in the early days of the Soviet Union it was a separate
union republic with a status similar to that of Georgia before Stalin -
himself a Georgian - eliminated Abkhazia's statehood and brought the
republic into Georgia. This was done against the will of the ethnic
Abkhazians who several times throughout the Soviet era demanded the
restoration of their status as a full republic separate from rival
Georgia.(With information from The Wall
The Tiraspol Times
Russia’s Krasnodar territory signed a cooperation agreement
Sukhum, Abkhazia and Russia’s
Krasnodar territory signed a cooperation agreement at the Gagra meeting
of Abkhaz President Sergei Bagapsh and Krasnodar Governor Alexander
The governor and OlympStroi head Viktor
Kolodyazhny are now visiting Sukhum.
The sides discussed the economy of
Abkhazia and preparations for the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi in 2014.
It is much more profitable to supply
construction materials to Sochi from Abkhazia, which is only 30-40
kilometers away, than from Russian regions located at the distance of
200-300 kilometers, Tkachyov said. “We will gladly implement this
agreement and concentrate on sea and railroad supplies from Abkhazia to
Sochi,” he said.
In the governor’s words, the supplies will
start two or three months from now and amount to about 100 million
Boden now argues
for recognition of Abkhazia
Sukhum, After Kosovo was granted
the international recognition that it sought for its independence, the
time has come for Abkhazia to get recognized the same way too, said
Dieter Boden, former special envoy of the United Nations (UN)
Secretary-General for Abkhazia, who had proposed a autonomy-based plan
to solve the conflict between Abkhazia and Georgia.
"Is it legal to deny the Abkhazians what
the Kosovans were granted?" asked Boden to make his support evident for
Abkhazia's efforts to gain international recognition.
President Mikheil Saakashvili of Georgia
received criticism from Boden for his promotion of an armed attack as a
threat against Abkhazia.
Boden also accused the Russian
administration of placing political pressure on its Abkhazian
counterpart while it assumed an intermediary role to play at the same
Boden is a German diplomat and he was the
UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy for Abkhazia between 1998 and 2002.
He also chaired while he was in Georgia from 1994 to 1997 the mission
staff of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
Boden studied the Russian literature extensively as well.
While he was the UN Secretary-General's
Special Envoy for Abkhazia, he proposed what later came to be known as
the Boden Peace Plan, which suggested that Georgia should be federalized
and negotiations should be held between Georgia and Abkhazia over
separation of subjects of jurisdiction and constitutional authority. The
Abkhazian administration, however, declined even to take a look at it.
In February, Sergei Shamba, Foreign
Minister of Abkhazia, said that the Boden Peace Plan could no longer be
relied on--a fact that required a search for new ways to solve the
conflict between Georgia and Abkhazia. Shamba also stressed that
negotiations could not be held within the framework of the Boden Peace
Plan because it was basically meant to cover the interests of Georgia.
recognizes right of return of displaced to Abkhazia, Georgia
The General Assembly today adopted a resolution in which it recognized
the right of return of all refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs),
regardless of their ethnicity, to Abkhazia, Georgia.
With 14 votes in
favour, 11 against and 105 abstentions, the Assembly adopted a
Georgian-sponsored text that recognizes the right of return for IDPs and
refugees and also their descendants.
stresses the importance of preserving the property rights of the
refugees and IDPs and underlines the urgent need for a timetable to
ensure the prompt voluntary return of all refugees and IDPs.
also requested that Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon submit a comprehensive
report at the Assembly’s next session on the implementation of today’s
05.15.2008 UN News Centre
representative of Georgian government
Sukhum, Sukhum, capital of Abkhazia,
hosted a government representative from Georgia for the first time since
the tension between two countries has reached its peak because Georgia
has reportedly been increasing its military presence along its border
Irakli Alasania, Georgia's Permanent
Representative in the United Nations, or UN, met on Monday in Sukhum
with Sergei Bagapsh, President of Abkhazia, as well as with Sergei
Shamba, Foreign Minister of Abkhazia. The meeting was revolved mainly
around the topic of how the two countries were recently brought to the
verge of war.
Reporters were not allowed to be present
while the meeting was taking place. After it was over, Shamba only told
reporters that he and his guest discussed some security issues and he
heard from his guest that he had been worried about the possibility of a
further increase in the already high tension.
It was in July of 2006 when negotiations
between Georgia and Abkhazia broke off because Georgia had put its
troops in Upper Kodor, the region which should have remained freed from
arms according to the Moscow Pact.
The Abkhazian administration made it clear
over and over again that it would not resume its negotiations with
Georgia unless the Georgian troops were withdrawn from Upper Kodor.
Apart from the tension that rose over the placement of Georgian troops
in Upper Kodor, a crisis was fueled when Georgia piled up its military
equipment along its border with Abkhazia and furthermore it flied drones
over Abkhazia. At this point, the Russian government decided to send in
further peacekeeping troops to Abkhazia, a move that rang the bells for
a likely war across the Caucasus.
Meanwhile, Abkhazia has shot down seven
Georgian drones in the past three months. The first one was shot down on
March 18, the second one on April 20, the third and fourth ones together
on May 4, the fifth one on May 12 while they were flying over
Ochamchira. The Georgian government, however, only admitted that the
second one belonged to it.
officials claim Georgian spy aircraft carried missile
Sukhum, The Abkhazian Ministry of
Defense claimed on Saturday that the fifth Georgian spy aircraft that
had been shot down while it was flying over Ochamchira after it entered
Abkhazian airspace on May 8 was equipped with a specific kind missile.
The Abkhazian Ministry of Defense experts
thought that the Georgian unmanned spy aircraft was meant to transport a
missile through the air, said Garri Kupalba, Deputy Minister of Defense.
Kupalba let reporters see the parts that
remained after the aircraft was shot down.
"The kind of explosive that was in the
unmanned aircraft was a real threat both to the civilians and the
peacekeeping troops. It is the United Nations (UN) military monitors and
the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) Peacekeeping Forces that
located the place where the aircraft fell. The kind of material that was
used in the production of the aircraft led to the total annihilation of
Kupalba accused Georgia of severely
violating the ceasefire agreement, signed 14 May 1994 in Moscow,
administrative capital of Russia, and the UN Security Council's Article
US diplomat says no
military solution in Abkhazia
Sukhum, The level of political and
military tensions in the zone of the Georgian-Abkhazian conflict is very
high but there is no military solution to it, U.S. Deputy Assistant
Secretary of State Matthew Bryza said on Saturday.
In his words, the way to go forward lies
through talks that should be held in an atmosphere of mutual respect.
In his opinion, it is important that the
people living in Abkhazia feel secure physically, economically and
culturally, he said.
He stressed that there could be no
military solution to the conflict and warned that armed actions would
only accelerate the underlying fundamental disagreements.
Bryza and U.S. Ambassador to Georgia John
Tefft met with Abkhazian President Sergei Bagapsh and Foreign Minister
Sergei Shamba earlier in the day to discuss the situation in the region
and ways to resolve it.
fragments of fifth downed Georgian drone
Republic of Abkhazia displayed on Friday fragments of a Georgian
surveillance drone it allegedly downed on Thursday.
Abkhazia said it shot down the fifth
Georgian surveillance drone since the beginning of the year over the
village of Gudava in the Ochamchira district at about 17:10 Moscow time
(13:10 GMT). Georgia has denied the report.
"Georgia has repeatedly ignored our
warnings, and is deliberately continuing to make the situation worse by
risking civilian lives. This is another proof of aggressiveness on the
part of official Tbilisi and its reluctance to implement prior
agreements," Garri Kupalba, Abkhazia's deputy defense minister, who
showed the fragments, quoted from the ministry's statement.
Abkhazia earlier claimed its air defenses
had shot down four Georgian surveillance drones this year, two on March
18 and April 20, and a further two on May 4.
The Georgian Foreign Ministry called
Abkhazia's claims "absurd," and said they were aimed at escalating
tensions in the region. Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili also
denied the report on Thursday.
"I have just spoken with the [Georgian]
defense minister," Saakashvili told reporters. "No plane has been downed."
Abkhazia and South Ossetia broke away from
Georgia in the early 1990s following the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Between 10,000 and 30,000 people were killed in the Georgian-Abkhazian
conflict and some 3,000 in Georgian-South Ossetian hostilities. Georgia
is looking to regain control over the two de facto independent republics.
Earlier reports said Georgia had acquired
a total of 40 drones, worth around $2 million each, from Israel between
2006 and 2008.
int'l recognition of its de-facto independence
Sukhum, The 'de facto' independence
of the Republic of Abkhazia will be recognized sooner or later. That is
the view of its president, Sergei Bagapsh. In a just-published interview
he says "we want a lawful state, independent and democratic."
In an interview published Wednesday in
Spain's El Pais newspaper, Sergei Bagapsh, the president of
Abkhazia says that his unrecognized country will eventually achieve
international recognition of its independence the same way that Kosovo
did in February, when it unilaterally declared that it no longer wanted
to be part of Serbia.
The ex-Soviet republic was originally a
separate kingdom and then became the Abkhaz SSR in the Soviet Union
before Georgia-born dictator Joseph Stalin forced it into the Georgian
Abkhazia and two other 'de facto'
independent states, South Ossetia and Pridnestrovie, have stepped up
their drive for freedom and independence since Kosovo's declaration of
independence, requesting that Russia, the UN and other organizations
recognize their sovereignty.
" - We want a lawful state, independent
and democratic... If Kosovo can be independent then so can Abkhazia,"
Sergei Bagapsh said Wednesday.
Kosovo, with a 90% ethnic-Albanian
majority, has been formally recognized as a sovereign state by 40
countries including the U.S., Taiwan and most EU members since it
proclaimed its independence.
Russia and China both opposed Kosovo's
independence because it was an unilateral decision which had not been
negotiated in advance with Serbia. Nearly 160 states still consider
Kosovo to be part of Serbia, or either don't care or have not yet made
up their mind on the issue.
Already independent, just not recognized
Abkhazia, which has already been 'de
facto' independent for nearly twenty years, believes that it has better
grounds for independence than Kosovo.
" - We [Abkhazia] do not want Moscow to
recognize us in defiance of the United States in order to take revenge
for Kosovo. We want independence because we have a right to it. Because
we have deserved it," said Bagapsh. He also added that if Abkhazia is
granted international recognition of its independence, it would be a
demilitarized country with no weapons or military units, but it would
need security guarantees from other countries to achieve this. Bagapsh
said that Georgia is "a very aggressive country armed to the teeth by
Europe," adding that "Greek, Ukrainian, Turkish and American [military]
instructors have equipped Georgia."
Like Pridnestrovie (also known as
Transnistria), Abkhazia is already independent but just not
diplomatically recognized as a state yet. Both of these new and emerging
countries already meet the requirements for statehood under
(With information from El Pais, RIA Novosti)
05.08.2008 The Tiraspol Times
reinforce positions in Georgia-Abkhazia conflict area
Russian peacekeepers who have arrived in the area of the
Georgian-Abkhazian conflict are reinforcing their operating areas and
their observation posts, the Defence Ministry department for the press
and public relations told Itar-Tass on Monday.
According to the press department,
“commander of CIS Collective Peacekeeping Force in the conflict area
Mayor-General Sergei Chaban conducted training with peacekeepers on the
practical use of documents of the peacekeeping operation in the zone of
the Georgian-Abkhazian conflict.”
Peacekeepers are reinforcing their
positions in the settlements of Arasadzykh and Akaramara, the press
A total of 2,000 peacekeepers served in
the zone of the Georgian-Abkhazian conflict. Last week the command of
the CIS Collective Peacekeeping Force decided to increase the number of
Russian peacekeepers in compliance with the recent resolution adopted by
the CIS heads of state. Under the mandate, a total of 3,000 peacekeepers
may be deployed in the area.
policy regarding Abkhazia contradicts Russia's interests
Strategically, Russia needs relative peace
in and around Abkhazia, but it has no reliable plans for attaining it.
Abkhazia is a specific problem, even compared with South Ossetia,
because it directly affects Russia's interests.
Abkhazia has huge gravel deposits
necessary for the construction of facilities for the 2014 Winter Olympic
Games in Sochi, and Abkhazian workers will most likely become the core
of workforce there.
Russia does not need a war or a near-war
situation in Abkhazia in the last year or two before the Games, because
the overwhelming majority of Abkhazians hold Russian passports and
therefore Russia will have to become involved, one way or another.
Tensions in Abkhazia, let alone a war,
would jeopardize safety at the Games, and the International Olympic
Committee would be forced to move them to another country.
Russia needs peace in Abkhazia and around
it at least in 2012-2014, but the Kremlin's policy of refusing to accept
the current Georgian regime and protesting against its accession to NATO
prevents it from helping Tbilisi's potential peaceful attempts at making
up with republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
Contradictions between Russia's foreign
policy and its internal political interests, including those related to
the Sochi Olympics, are creating additional political tensions.
The problem of Abkhazia, especially for
Russia, is different from the problem of Kosovo. Russia will have to
formulate a clear policy based on a combination of its real interests,
rather than on the inflated geopolitical ambitions of the Russian elite
garbed in populist slogans.
However, Russia cannot do this now because
it has no time or patience for political debates, while measures
proposed by officials, even if successful, cannot form the core of its
policy. Crucial political decisions must be discussed publicly, for
example in parliament.
Debris of second spy
plane downed in Abkhazia found Fri before dusk
Debris of a second unmanned spy plane, shot down over the territory of
Abkhazia on Friday, have been found, the chief of the Gal district
police force, Laurens Koghonia, has said. The fragments were spotted in
the area of the village of Rechkhi, the Tquarchal district.
“Several fragments have been found. The
search had to be stopped as dusk set in. It will be continued tomorrow,”
Earlier, the debris of the first intruder
aircraft were found near the village of Achigvara, the Ochamchira
Abkhazia’s air defense shot down two
unmanned spy planes of the Georgian Air Force over one hour (between
16:00 and 17:00 Moscow time) on Friday.
In the wake of soaring tensions along the
disengagement line Abkhazia’ s armed forces have been alerted. The
president of Abkhazia, Sergei Bagapsh, has issued orders to attack any
air targets venturing into Abkhazia’s airspace.
Abkhazia places army
on high alert after shooting dn Georgian drones
Sukhum, Following a sharp
deterioration of tensions along the disengagement line that separates
the Georgian and Abkhazian forces, the republic of Abkhazia has put its
armed units on high alert, Kristian Bzhania, a special representative of
the Abkhazian President told Itar-Tass.
Special focus is given to ensuring
security of Abkhazia's air space.
President Sergei Bagapsh, who is the chief
commander of the republic's Armed Forces, is in his office, Bzhania said,
adding that the president has issued an order to bring down any aerial
targets violating Abkhazian air space.
A total of two Georgian reconnaissance
drones were shot down Sunday over Abkhazia's Gal district between 16:00
hours and 17:00 hours Moscow Daylight Saving Time /12:00 hours GMT and
13:00 hours GMT/. The first drone was destroyed over the village of
Lizakhurga and the second one, over the village of Bagryam.
President Bagapsh invited Major General
Sergei Chaban, the commander of the CIS Peacekeeping Force in the zone
of Georgian-Abkhazian conflict, to his office and informed him about the
Sunday's catch of drones bring the total
number of pilotless reconnaissance aircraft destroyed in the skies over
Abkhazia to four. The first of them was shot down March 18 and the
second, April 20.
Georgian spy drone found in Abkhazia - sources
Debris of one of the Georgian spy drones
that were shot down Sunday in the skies over the much-troubled
independence-seeking region of Abkhazia have been found near the village
of Achigvara in the region's Ochamchira district, sources in the
agencies of law and order of neighboring Gal district told Itar-Tass.
Identification of the debris was in
progress at the time of reporting and a search for other pieces of
debris of the two drones continued.
Abkhazia Peacekeepers Settle In
The units of Russian peacekeepers sent
to the Georgian-Abkhazian conflict zone, enlarging the Russian presence
there by 50 percent, is setting up cooperative activities with local
authorities and UN representatives for fulfilling their mission. Unit
commanders report that their troops are ready to perform peacekeeping
operations after having received instruction and assignments.
Defense Ministry announced on Tuesday
that “the buildup by the Georgian side of military groupings in direct
proximity to the conflict zone” necessitated enlarging the peacekeeping
contingent in the Georgian-Abkhazian and Georgian-South Ossetian
conflict zones to the upper limits set up international agreements made
through the decisions of the Council of Heads of the CIS Member States.
in Abkhazia completes deployment
Additional units of the Russian peacekeeping troops, which arrived in
the zone of the Georgian-Abkhazian conflict, have reported their
readiness for fulfilling peacekeeping missions, Colonel Vyacheslav Sedov,
head of the press service of the Russian Defence Ministry, told
Itar-Tass on Friday.
“The peacekeeping units, which came to
join the CIS Collective Peacekeeping Force, continue to set themselves
up in the areas of provisional deployment. Measures were taken for
establishing cooperation with local government bodies and
representatives of the U.N. Observer Mission in Georgia. Classes were
given to the personnel on the fulfilment of peacekeeping missions.
Patrolling routes were outlined, and places for observation posts were
chosen,” Colonel Sedov continued.
“The Russian units, which came to join the
CIS Collective Peacekeeping Force, reported their readiness to fulfil
peacekeeping missions,” he said. Colonel Sedov stressed that the overall
numerical strength of the peacekeeping contingent did not exceed the
parameters, set by the CIS Council of Heads of State.
Until recently the strength of the CIS
Collective Peacekeeping Force was 2,000 men. In accordance with the
mandate for the operation, it was increased to reach 3,000.