Voice of the Abkhazians

-------------------- News from Abkhazia --------------------

 UNPO General Secretary Condemns Assassination Attempt on President Ankuab


The Hague, 23 February 2012 – UNPO deplores in the strongest possible terms the assassination attempt on the democratically elected President of Abkhazia, Aleksandr Ankuab made yesterday morning and sends its condolences to the families of those killed or injured in what was a senseless attack.


In what is the fifth attempt against his life since 2005 and a move with clear motives to destabilise a young but maturing democracy, it both reflects the great difficulties facing Abkhazia in light of limited international recognition but also the resilience of the achievements Abkhazia has made since 1991.


The people of Abkhazia elected President Ankuab as the leader of their nation in fair and democratic elections in 2011 and yesterday’s attack represents a serious affront to this democratic process and to the parliamentary elections to be held next month.


This attack must not be allowed to overshadow or unduly affect the forthcoming elections and we sincerely wish President Ankuab a full and speedy recovery.


Marino Busdachin

UNPO General Secretary


To download the General Secretary's statement, see here


 An attack on sovereignty, by Inal Khashig


Trying to kill Aleksander Ankuab has almost become a bad habit. He was shot at when he was prime minister. They tried to kill him when he was vice-president. And as we now see, they don't intend to leave him in peace now he is president. Although people were injured in the five earlier attempts, no one was killed. And in light of the fact that the previous attacks were never solved, his detractors (and Ankuab has more than enough of them) were able to speculate that the crimes were faked, even that Ankuab himself may have staged those attacks. I don't rule out the possibility that this time, when people have been killed, people will again try to promulgate this hypothesis. Let God be their judge. What interests me is the motives for the murder attempt.


However paradoxical it may sound, it is President Aleksandr Ankuab who has recently emerged as the biggest critic of the present authorities. In the past week alone, he has targeted the Interior Ministry with all its ancillaries, purged the Prosecutor General's office, dismissing two of the prosecutor-general's deputies, suspended the work of the Migration Service, and dismantled the Gagra district economic staff. He has spoken openly, without any circumlocutions or beating about the bush, about corruption, the illegal sale of passports, citizenship and land, about money embezzled and inept officials who terrorize both business and the man in the street. And that criticism is not unfounded – he cites facts and figures, many of which until now were completely unknown, or known only to a very narrow circle of those in power.


Some have suggested that such a large-scale purge of the state apparatus, which naturally extends to the head of state, was a kind of well thought-out public relations campaign in the run-up to the parliamentary elections. I think this version is too simple, even primitive. The country's parliament is constructed in such a way that whoever is elected to it, whatever its composition, it is inevitably doomed to become subservient to the will of the president. You must agree that casting pearls before the electorate for the sake of elections whose outcome is a foregone conclusion is not very clever! Ankuab is perfectly aware of this. In addition, promulgating empty threats to generate questionable publicity is not his style.


For the past seven years, when he was not yet head of state, Ankuab kept quiet and was not that active, to put it mildly, when it came to maintaining law and order. Now he is constantly criticized for that failure. Why, people ask, did he not try to do anything before, even though he had the necessary leverage and authority to do so? Yes, he was prime minister, vice-president - senior positions, you can't deny it! But ever since Abkhazia acquired statehood, it is the president who has usurped the right to "try to solve" issues. All other institutions of power are doomed to play only the role of important elements of the  state machine that appear to be essential in accordance with tables of democratic ranking, but in fact are absolutely useless and ineffective.

Any prominent political figure, no matter how dazzling his charisma, will be forcibly expelled from the system in the blink of an eye if he dares to act contrary to the established order of things. However gross it may sound, under President Bagapsh the "iron" Ankuab, acutely aware how dubious his status was, voluntarily restricted his activity to the level of zits-chairman Pound. But unlike Ilf and Petrov's character, Ankuab doggedly waited in the wings, convinced that his time will come. And he has finally taken the helm.

Despite the external appearance of calm, Aleksandr Ankuab attained the presidency in an extremely difficult situation. The level of corruption in the country has reached such proportions that sovereignty itself is at stake. Over the past 10 or so years, public morality has become completely devalued, the level of civic consciousness of the population of Abkhazia is comparable to that of the Delaware Indian tribe who four hundred years ago exchanged their homeland - the island of Manhattan – for beads and a couple of cases of whisky.

Aleksandr Ankuab is now faced with Hamlet's rhetorical question '"to be or not to be?" in all its relentless starkness. He clearly did not want to be a president under whom state sovereignty became a meaningless fig leaf, otherwise they would not have opened fire on him.


This article was published by Ekho Kavkaza and is translated from Russian.


 Uknown Assailant shoots at Abkhazian President Ankuab


Gudauta, An unknown person fired at the car of Abkhazian President Alexander Ankuab on Wednesday morning, the Head of the republic was not injured, said a source in the enforcement agency of the republic.


"The car of the President was shot at near the town of Gudauta. Ankuab was going to Sukhum to work. He was not injured but his bodyguard was seriously injured," the source said.


Ankuab, who was Abkhazia's interior minister from 1992 to 1993, garnered nearly 55 percent of the vote in the election on August 26, 2011, in the tiny mountainous region on the Black Sea coast which declared independence from Georgia in 1999. Tbilisi continues to regard it as a breakaway region.


This is the fifth assassination attempt on Ankuab in the past five years. Two unsuccessful attacks were carried out in 2005. In 2007 he received a slight concussion and a shrapnel injury to the back when his car came under attack from a grenade launcher. In 2009, Alexander Ankuab was injured when his house came under grenade launcher attack. Ankuab received shrapnel wounds to his arm and leg.


02.22.2012  RIA Novosti


 British ambassador visits Abkhazia


Sukhum, Judith Goff, the British Ambassador to Georgia, has visited Abkhazia, Echo Kavkaza reports.


She has met Abkhaz Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Chirikba and President Alexander Ankuab in Sukhum. The British official discussed the development of the English language in Abkhazia and methods of education. Goff noted that an English expert will hold seminars for Abkhaz English-language teachers.


Goff talked on various aspects of European-Abkhaz ties and relations of Abkhazia and Georgia. The British ambassador and Chirikba discussed the neutral passports offered by Georgia.


02.21.2012  Vestnik Kavkaza


 A Refined Europe with Umbrella, by Nadezhda Venedictova


The other day a public meeting with a new EU Special Representative for South Caucasus Philippe Lefort was held in the Center of Zurab Achba. It was organized by the Sukhum Center for Humanitarian Programs and Paris Institute for Security. It was attended by the Security Council Secretary Stanislav Lakoba, Deputy of Foreign Minister Irakli Khintba and Director of Strategic Studies Center at the President of RA Oleg Damenia. Meetings with EU representatives have been already organized for several years. As a rule we try to explain to Europeans that the EU's desire to work with Abkhazia through Georgia is futile, that it is necessary to build direct relationships, even if not officially recognizing the independence of Abkhazia. Eventually, our persistence seems to have worked out, and the previous EU Special Representative Peter Semneby suggested a EU formula in Abkhazia - involvement without recognition." However, this formula is still in the air, as not only us move slowly from words to deeds.


It seemed important to me F. Lefort's assertion several times expressed that the European Union, despite its geopolitical weight (the number of its citizens is 720 million, its economy is three of Chinese and 16 of Russian, etc.), does not aspire to become a global hegemon and follows the principles of good neighborliness and while participating in conflict resolution excludes the use of military force. Of course, it was known before, but the new special representative is laying a special stress on it. Perhaps for the first time at these meetings a diplomat of such a rank said as well that in visible perspective the EU will unite with Russia to strengthen its power.


Perhaps this information imprinted in my soul, because I have been startled recently by George Friedman's political bestseller "The Next 100 Years," written before Barack Obama came to power. Friedman, an American political scientist and director of a private intelligence-analytical organization STRATFOR, is adamantly convinced that the twenty-first century will become the United States Age, that wars will occur and the United States should use everything, including armed force to maintain its leadership position. According to Friedman, the current apparent weakening of the US is an illusion, that America loses the war in other countries, not because of weakness, but because it tends to strengthen not an order there, but a chaos that prevents these countries to become strong and compete with the United States. Friedman is convinced that the Chinese "bubble" will burst soon, Russia will collapse after the 2020, and weak- willed and having lost the taste for battles Europe will forfeit its value.


For the first time I met an apologia of power and superiority, described on a such intellectual level. And this is terrifying. An intelligent and educated analyst at the beginning of the third millennium thinks mainly as a Neanderthal man - to hit a neighbor’s head with a truncheon and grasp a fresh piece of meat! Of course, not all of Americans are "hawks," Obama's victory in the last election speaks more to the contrary, but to write such a book in Europe is not considered comme il faut, but in the States, Friedman's book became a bestseller of the most influential American newspaper " New-York Times" - this says a lot!


Therefore, an old Europe, in spite of prolonged crisis of its union, seems to be as a prominent and refined lady who does not step on other’s feet and hit heads with umbrella in the rain to jump first into a taxi.


02.18.2012  ALLS Independent Media Monitoring Team


 Foreign Minister Viacheslav Chirikba met with the first group of compatriots who arrived from Syria


Sukhum, On February 17 the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Abkhazia Viacheslav Chirikba met with the first group of compatriots who arrived from Syria - Nishan Vanacha and Shamil Marschan. The meeting was attended by the Head of Department of Turkey and Middle East of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Inar Gitsba and the Deputy Chairman of the State Committee for Repatriation Akhmad Marschan.


Nishan Vanacha is an architect and Shamil Marchand graduated from Industrial College. At the moment they are accommodated in the boarding-house "Abkhazia". According to N. Vanacha, the purpose of his visit is to create conditions for the repatriation of his family to their historical homeland.


He also said that his two nephews are planning to move soon to Abkhazia.


Specific measures to assist families who will soon be repatriated to Abkhazia were discussed during the meeting. To date, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in cooperation with the State Committee for Repatriation assists the repatriation of two families of our compatriots in Syria composed of thirteen people, from which to date were received applications for assistance in return to their historical Homeland.


The arrival of the Syrian compatriots in Abkhazia was the result of actions taken by the Government of the Republic of Abkhazia, and the direct consequence of the Government's mission of the Republic of Abkhazia composed of the Chairman of the State Committee for Repatriation, the representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Abkhazia and the Federation of Abkhazian cultural centers in Turkey.


Ministry of Foreign Affairs reiterates its readiness together with the State Committee for Repatriation to facilitate in every way the repatriation of our compatriots abroad, who wish to return to their historical Homeland.


02.17.2010  Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Abkhazia


 The Seminar for the Co-chairs of the Geneva discussions was held in Pitsunda


On February 15, 2012 the Seminar prepared by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Abkhazia for the Co-chairs of the Geneva discussions was held in Pitsunda. The Seminar was devoted to historical and political analysis of the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict. It was attended by the Co-chairs of the Geneva discussions, their advisors, staff of the EU structures, representatives of the UN specialized agencies, leadership of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Security Council of the Republic of Abkhazia, well-known Abkhaz political experts.


The main objective of the workshop was to familiarize the representatives of the EU, UN and the OSCE, with the history of the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict, Abkhazia's position on key aspects of the Georgian-Abkhaz relations. Particular attention was paid to the assessment of the role and approaches of the West in the settlement of the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict.


The speakers were the following: the Secretary of the Security Council of Abkhazia Stanislav Lakoba ("The historical roots of the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict"), former Deputy Defense Minister of Abkhazia Garry Kupalba ("The Georgian-Abkhazian war of 1992-1993."), Ex-Minister of Foreign Affairs, Director of the Abkhazian branch of the Foundation "Institute of Eurasian Studies" Socrat Dzhindzholia ("The post-war negotiations - Geneva I"), the Secretary of the Public Chamber Natella Akaba ("Approaches of the Abkhaz side to the refugees’ problem"), Deputy Executive Director of the NGO "Center for Humanitarian Programs" Liana Kvarchelia ("Evaluation of modern international approaches to the resolution of the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict").


The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Abkhazia, Viacheslav Chirikba addressed the participants with closing remarks. He summed up the conceptual outcomes of the seminar, stressing the high importance of accurate knowledge about the context and nature of the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict for improvement of the efficiency of the negotiation process.

Participants of the Seminar agreed on the need to continue the practice of holding such seminars in future.


02.15.2010  Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Abkhazia


 US, UK hamper Abkhazia's recognition


Sukhum, The US and the UK are intentionally disrupting the recognition of Abkhazia’s independence. If it was not for the pressure from their part the sovereignty of Abkhazia had been officially supported by at least 20 countries of the Asian Pacific Region, Juris Gulbis, ambassador of Abkhazia to the Asia-Pacific Region said.


The tactics of Washington and London is simple. The countries which are beginning to establish ties with Sukhum are simply told not to do so. Those who don’t obey will face tough economic sanctions, the ambassador says.


"The powerful states such as the US, the UK and also the EU are supporting Georgia and fully ignoring the position of Abkhazia. Abkhazia has the right tot be recognized as an independent state, while Tbilisi wants to make it part of Georgia again. The western countries are trying to disrupt all our plans and possibilities to win sovereignty."


It is now especially hard for the small island states such as Nauru, Vanuatu and Tuvalu which have already recognized the independence of Abkhazia. The West has simply stopped the financing of vitally important projects in those countries. By acting this way they not only punish the citizens of those states but make it clear for the rest what they can expect if they recognize Abkhazia’s independence.


However not every state surrenders to such “blackmailing” methods. At least 12 countries of the Asian Pacific region, which became independent in the last 30-50 years, welcome Sukhum’s ambition for freedom.  Although they are not quite ready to establish diplomatic relations with Abkhazia they do not deny that the support the new state, Gulbis says.


"They admit that Abkhazia exists that it has its people and its government. They understand that we have the conflict which soon I hope will be resolved. During the vote in the UN they never vote against us, they either stay neutral or vote for us."


The fact that Western countries deny Abkhazia’s sovereignty while actively lobbying Kosovo’s separation from Serbia clearly shows what the core of the problem is. Washington, London and the EU in pursuit of their own geopolitical interest use the Georgian-Abkhazian conflicts for weakening Russia’s authorities on the international arena, the foreign policy expert of the Centre for current politics in Russia Evgenia Voiko says.


"Every time when one more country recognizes the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia it confirms that the Russian government took the right decision in 2008. No doubt that the US the EU are trying to prevent the increase in number of countries which now or in the near future could recognize the independence of these Caucasian republics."


However Juris Gulbis is confident that already this year the number of the countries which recognize the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia will increase. He said that active diplomatic efforts are now being made for it but refused to name the countries with which the agreements are expected to be signed. There are too many states which are ready to disrupt the talks so we prefer to keep the information confidential, he said.


02.15.2010  The Voice of Russia


 Abkhazia would like to develop relations with the countries of Asia-Pacific Region


Yuris Gulbis, ambassador at large of the MFA of Abkhazia in the Asia-Pacific region (APR) is in Abkhazia now.


The Minister of Foreign Affairs Viacheslav Chirikba, his deputy Irakly Khintba and Yuris Gulbis held a meeting with journalists.


There was Adgur Chegiya, head of department of Asia, Africa and countries of Asia-Pacific region and Lusine Nersesyan at the meeting, who also works in this department. The department has been established recently.


Yuris Gulbis told about his work in the Asia-Pacific region. «We support ties with 12 countries besides those that have recognized us. These are countries that got independence for the last 30-50 years. They understand our aspiration for independence and that is why they support us more open and dynamic», - he marked. At the same time he expressed regret that such powers as the USA and Great Britain undertook active actions for disruption of recognition of independence of Abkhazia by the countries of Asia-Pacific region.


«As soon as it is known about our meetings at official level with the authorities of any country, they immediately begin to put pressure on these countries so that they do not recognize Abkhazia, citing the fact that Abkhazia is a part of Georgia. If not this fact Abkhazia would be recognized for the last year at least by 20 countries», - Gulbis said.


According to the ambassador at large of the MFA of Abkhazia in the Asia-Pacific region there are perspectives, and there will be recognition of Abkhazia by this region.


Yuris Gulbis emphasized that the countries of Asia-Pacific region show not only political but also economic interest to Abkhazia.


The countries that recognized Abkhazia such as Nauru, Vanuatu and Tuvalu face with difficulties- Gulbis said. EC and other donor agencies stop financing different projects and it may be considered as blackmail method.


The Minister of Foreign Affairs Viacheslav Chirikba called APR as a prosperous region, which may be of interest for our businessmen. «It would be useful to develop contacts what is more three countries of the APR have already recognized Abkhazia. We have a lot of friends there thanks to Yuris Gulbis », - said the Minister.


«The perspectives are good; we simply should work hard in the information sphere as it is little known about Abkhazia. We are to inform the truth about Abkhazia through Internet and other mass media. All our plans are realizable», - underlined Chirikba.


Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Irakly Khintba told that special established department of Asia, Africa and countries of Asia-Pacific region in the MFA of Abkhazia is in contact with Yuris Gulbis analyzing the situation in the region.


«We pay great attention to the study of political situation in this region to plan our own strategy and rely on intensification of political and diplomatic communication with the APR countries, which have recognized our independence», - said Khintba.


According to the head of department Adgur Chegiya, the newly established department works actively on issues of development of relationship with the countries of the region.


Viacheslav Chirikba emphasized about sufficiently successful trip of the representatives of the MFA and State Committee on Repatriation to Syria in January. According to him, some families expressed a wish to return to their historical motherland Abkhazia. «It is a very important result of the mission and we will continue this successful experience», - said Chirikba.


02.13.2010  Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Abkhazia


 Foreign Minister Viacheslav Chirikba Meets the EU Delegation


On February 8 the Foreign Minister of the Republic of Abkhazia Viacheslav Chirikba received delegation of the European Union led by the EU Ambassador Philip Dimitrov. Deputy Head of Political Department of the EU Delegation to Georgia Renata Wrobel and Project Manager Eva Troya also participated in the meeting. Deputy Foreign Minister Irakli Khintba and Head of the International Department Lana Agrba participated in the meeting from the Abkhaz side.


The main topics of the discussion were the prospects for the implementation of the EU projects in Abkhazia as well as broader aspects of relations between Abkhazia and the European Union.


The Minister emphasized the importance of dialogue between the parties despite disagreement between the EU and Abkhazia on several of issues. According to him Abkhazia is a European democratic country, open to dialogue and cooperation.


Both Europe and Georgia should accept political realities – the existence of an independent Abkhaz state – and develop their relations with Abkhazia in accordance with these realities


The European strategy “Engagement without Recognition” will not bring any significant results since it is considered by the Abkhaz side as an initiative aimed at reintegration with Georgia.


Trying to solve the problems of Abkhazia behind its back and without its participation like it was in case with the Georgian so called neutral passports is an absolutely hopeless policy. The Minister said that Abkhazia would seek the recognition of the Abkhaz passports as travel documents by Europe in the same way as the USA, the Great Britain and other countries stamp entry visas in the passports of citizens of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, which is not recognized by them.


The Minister stressed that Abkhazia is interested in finding mutually acceptable solutions and expressed his willingness to gradually develop reciprocal contacts. However in order to get positive results first of all it is necessary to consider Abkhazia as a full-fledged participant of negotiation process. Everything should be based on equal dialogue and mutual respect.


Some other issues of mutual interest were also discussed at the meeting. The representatives of the EU delegation thanked the Minister for frank discussion and expressed interest in continuing the dialogue.


02.08.2010  Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Abkhazia


 Russia criticizes Georgia passport idea for Abkhazia and South Ossetia


The issuing of “neutral passports” for citizens of South Ossetia and Abkhazia in Georgia is an attempt to trick the population, the Russian Foreign Ministry said today, ITAR-TASS reports.


The ministry points out that the passports contain state code and are have marks of the Georgian Interior Ministry and, thus, cannot be called neutral. Lack of Georgian symbols in the passport is a trick of Tbilisi, the Russian ministry says.


The Georgian trick proves that Abkhazia and South Ossetia want independence and confirms moral inferiority of Georgian politics to force population of the two republics back to Georgia, the ministry says.


02.08.2010  vestnik kavkaza


 Georgia attacks sovereignty of S. Ossetia and Abkhazia…again


Moscow, Ahead of the forthcoming presidential election in South Ossetia, Georgia is actively trying to destabilize the political situation in the republic, South Ossetia’s State Security Committee said in a statement released on Wednesday.


­The document stresses that it has reliable information that “Georgian security services are planning a series of provocations and acts of terror.” Their aim is to “thwart the presidential election scheduled for March 25, 2012, to foment civil confrontation and to cast doubt on South Ossetia’s sovereignty and independence.”


The committee says it has been taking “all necessary counter measures to defend the constitutional order and security of South Ossetia.”


Georgia has also started issuing so-called “neutral” passports for citizens of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which do not carry any state symbols on the cover. The authorities of both republics slammed the move as interference in their domestic affairs.


The Russian Foreign Ministry called the move “a deceitful attempt” to bring citizens of independent republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia back to Georgia.


“We should understand that ‘neutral’ passports are actually not neutral at all,” the statement reads. “Georgia is mentioned in the “code of the state” column, and the country’s Interior Ministry is stated as the body which issued the document. So the absence of Georgian state symbols on the cover is only a trick, an attempt to deceive…residents of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.”


The statement notes that now Tbilisi has switched from military aggression and four-year-long blockade to “soft methods”.


02.08.2010  RT


 Violations of the Right to Freedom of Movement of the Citizens of Abkhazia, by Asida Lomia


I would like to thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak in such an honorable meeting at the Session dedicated to one of the most important issues especially for the citizens of Abkhazia, regarding the right to freedom of movement.


Article 13 (1) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, (1948) (UDHR) states that "everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each State”. Article 12 (1) of The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, (1966) (ICCPR), provides for the right to liberty of movement and freedom to choose residence for those ‘lawfully’ within the territory of a State. A number of national constitutions reflect this provision of international law and provide citizens with the right to freedom of movement within the State. However this right has not been fully extended to the citizens of Abkhazia who have been subjected to severe restrictions on travel outside Abkhazia since 1994. This fact without doubt contravened the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights for its paragraph 12(2) which states:


Everyone shall be free to leave any country, including his own." Ironically, at the end of the 20th century the people of Abkhazia effectively found themselves behind a new Iron Curtain and were not free to travel.


Since 1996 Abkhaz passports were no longer recognized as documents valid for travel outside the Russian Federation. This restricted not only Abkhaz citizens' right to free movement, but also made Russia the only 'outside world' with which Abkhazia could communicate. Requests of the Abkhaz officials and civil society activists to the UN to issue temporary international travel documents for Abkhaz citizens until the conflict was resolved were rejected. In recent years, thousands of Abkhaz citizens have adopted Russian citizenship, allowing them to travel in and beyond Russia. People living in Abkhazia also possess Abkhaz passports issued by the Republic of Abkhazia that identify the holder as an Abkhaz citizen. Unfortunately, the Abkhaz passport is not recognised at international level and cannot be used for international travel, except those countries which recognised the independence of Abkhazia. The acquisition of Russian passports is considered as a pragmatic step that gives people the opportunity to travel freely for various reasons and issues.


It should be noted that after recognition of Abkhazia by the Russian Federation in 2008 obtaining of Russian passports has been restricted. Soon a generation of young people will appear being able to travel just to those several countries which have recognized Abkhazia and nowhere else. In that case, the question arises: For whom are so many human rights declarations, covenants, conventions and laws composed, if people are not equal in their movement freely within the States of the world?


It might be worth mentioning that In October 2008 the Georgian Parliament adopted a Law on Occupied Territories, defining a new legal basis to regulate and restrict contacts between the outside world and Abkhazia and South Ossetia and raised concerns within the international community with regard to humanitarian access to the conflict affected areas. All foreigners are allowed to enter the territory only from the Georgian side and are liable to criminal punishment for violations. Foreigners travelling from the Russian Federation who cross the Russian-Abkhazian border face serious problems in Georgia. This provision may be in contradiction with the Georgian international engagements, and it might deteriorate humanitarian situation and cause unnecessary hardship as it was mentioned in the OPINION ON THE LAW ON OCCUPIED TERRITORIES OF GEORGIA OF THE VENICE COMMISSION. Strasbourg, 17 March 2009. I can't help mentioning that the phrase "occupied territories" in the law passed in the Georgian Parliament. Abkhazia and South Ossetia are not occupied by the Russian Federation. Russian military bases located near the borders between Abkhazia and Georgia as well as South Ossetia and Georgia, are there according to the agreements signed between the said states and the Russian Federation. The presence of bases is connected to the most important right which no one may deny today to any people, and which is considered to be the right of the rights - it is the right to life which was several times violated by Georgian government over the last two decades.


Secondly, such a law isolates the people of Abkhazia from the whole world and violates the right to lead a dignified life in the very essence of this word.


Tbilisi opposes the resumption of the work of the Sukhum airport. It was closed for external flights and the railway functioned only within Abkhazia's borders or only to Russia. The seaports were closed for passenger boats, and Abkhaz boats could not leave the port to bring goods from Turkey.


Obtaining of visas for the citizens of Abkhazia appears to be complicated and most of the time impossible.  For example visas have been denied even when people apply to travel outside Abkhazia on medical grounds, which seems utterly unjust and unheard of in our time.


Here I would like to mention some recent cases when obtaining of visas was denied to:


1. Children dancing company from Pitsunda intended to perform their culture in France.

2. NGO representatives to travel to Belgium and Lithuania.

3. Abkhaz representatives to attend the UN General Assembly.

4. Young Team of Intellectuals to participate in the contest in Latvia.

5. Teenagers invited to the German International Peace Youth Camp.


And this we face at the time when freer movement is considered crucial for the protection and promotion of human rights and fundamental freedoms.


Finally I would like to add that depriving and/or violating the rights of the people(s) of Abkhazia is absolutely incomprehensible in the light of the EU's stated strategy of Engagement without Recognition.


02.06.2012  ALLS Independent Media Monitoring Team


 Russia to Trade Duty Free with Abkhazia, South Ossetia


Russia intends to conduct duty free bilateral trade with the republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, including fuel supplies to the region, according to draft trade agreements published on Monday.


The Russian government has instructed the Economics Ministry to hold negotiations with the two republics and sign corresponding trade accords.


The draft agreements stipulate that Russia, Abkhazia and South Ossetia will not apply customs duties and related taxes in their imports. Abkhazia, however, will impose a duty-free regime only from January 1, 2015.


Exemptions will apply to export duties on Russia’s supplies of sugar, ethyl alcohol, cigarettes and cigars to these republics.


02.06.2010  RIA Novosti


 Foreign Minister Viacheslav Chirikba met with the head of the ICRC mission in Abkhazia


On February 3, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Abkhazia, Viacheslav Chirikba met with the head of the ICRC mission, Luc Haas. The meeting was also attended by the Deputy Foreign Minister Irakly Khintba and the head of the International Department of the Foreign Ministry Lana Agrba.


One of the topics of discussion was the question of the fate of three citizens of Abkhazia, detained in the prison of Tbilisi. According to Luc Haas, the ICRC will take steps, which will provide information on the status of prisoners. Moreover, the families of these citizens will have the opportunity to convey messages to their relatives through the ICRC.


By the end of meeting the head of the mission also spoke about the current activities of the organization, in particular the work carried out to search for those missing as a result of the Georgian-Abkhazian conflict as well as assistance provision to their families. Some other issues of humanitarian concern were also voiced.


02.03.2010  Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Abkhazia


 Meeting of the Deputy Foreign Minister Irakly Khintba with representatives of the UNHCR


On February 2, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Irakly Khintba met with UNHCR representatives, headed by Davit Makhmuryan, the new head of office of the organization in Abkhazia (Gal), and the former head of the UNHCR office in Abkhazia, Srecko Neumann. The Abkhaz side was attended by the head of International Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Lana Agrba.


Khintba and Makhmuryan discussed the prospects of further cooperation. Deputy Minister noted the interest of the Abkhaz Foreign Ministry in enhancing constructive cooperation with specialized UN agencies and other international non-governmental organizations (INGOs). Irakly Khintba stressed that at present more effective mechanisms of cooperation are being developed, noting that from recent time the functions of coordination of international humanitarian activities on the territory of Abkhazia are returned to the Foreign Ministry. The Deputy Minister emphasized the need for greater information sharing to enhance the transparency of INGOs’ activity in Abkhazia. He especially stressed that the Abkhaz leadership attaches great importance to the quality of construction works, and asked the representatives of the UNHCR to consider this in their work.


Guests, in their turn, briefed the leadership of the Foreign Ministry on their current activities, in particular on housing reconstruction in the Ochamchira, Tkuarchal and Gal districts of Abkhazia as well as projects aimed at provision of legal support to the population.


Deputy Minister expressed gratitude to Srecko Neumann for his work and wished the new head of UNHCR office in Abkhazia Davit Mahmuryan success. Davit Makhmuryan thanked Irakly Khintba for the detailed business discussion, and expressed willingness of UNHCR for fruitful cooperation.


02.03.2010  Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Abkhazia


 MFA of Abkhazia expresses heartfelt condolences to the MFA of Turkey on the passing of the first winner of the beauty contest "Miss World - 1932" Keriman Halis Ece


Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Abkhazia expresses heartfelt condolences to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey on the passing of the first winner of the beauty contest "Miss World - 1932" Keriman Halis Ece on January 28, 2012.


The letter says, in particular:


«Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Abkhazia presents its compliments to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey and expresses heartfelt condolences on the passing of the first winner of the beauty contest "Miss World - 1932" Keriman Halis Ece on January 28, 2012.


The passing over of Keriman Halis, who was awarded by Ataturk the surname Ece for the victory in the beauty contest, is a sad event not only for Turkey, but also for Abkhazia, as Keriman Halis Ece was a Turkish citizen of Abkhaz descent from the family of Ebzhnou. Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Abkhazia asks the Foreign Ministry to pass its most sincere condolences to the families and friends of Keriman Halis Ece, who will always be remembered by the people of Abkhazia as the icon of Caucasian beauty».


01.02.2012  Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Abkhazia