Voice of the Abkhazians

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

 The first volume of “UN Documents on Abkhazia” was published


The first volume of “UN Documents on Abkhazia” was published. Collected in three volumes of the collection resolutions of the General Assembly and Security Council, Reports of Secretaries General and other UN documents represent a valuable historical source for the study of rich with events political history of the post-Soviet Abkhazia. Documents cover the period from 1992 to 2009. The book is prepared by the Department of Political Science and Conflictology of the Abkhazian Institute of Humanitarian Studies named after D. Gulia and Academy of Sciences of Abkhazia within the project of “Documents on political history of Abkhazia”. The compiler of the collection is Astanda Khashba, editor - Viacheslav Chirikba, author of the scientific foreword - Irakly Khintba.


The book will be of interest to historians specializing in the latest history of Abkhazia, political scientists, conflict experts, lawyers, and students of relevant faculties.


12.06.2012  Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the republic of Abkhazia


 Joint Statement


The Representatives of the Republic of Abkhazia and the Republic of South Ossetia note that at the 20th round of Geneva Discussions on Security and Stability in the South Caucasus the discussion of illegitimacy of applying the terms “occupation” and “occupied territories” to South Ossetia and Abkhazia on the basis of the norms and principles of the international law took place.


The representatives of the Republic of Abkhazia and the Republic of South Ossetia reminded those present that in August 2008 the regime of M. Saakashvili launched aggression against South Ossetia, which led to hundreds of human casualties including those Russian peacekeepers who were in South Ossetia according to the international mandate.


The representatives of the Republic of Abkhazia and the Republic of South Ossetia express satisfaction over the fact that despite the remaining differences among the participants of the Geneva Discussions in regard to the use of the term “occupation,” the comprehensive discussion of this issue with the involvement of independent experts clearly demonstrated that the presence of the Russian armed forces in the Republic of Abkhazia and the Republic of South Ossetia cannot be in any way considered as “occupation” and these states cannot be considered as “occupied territories”.


The mandatory attribute of occupation is an effective control implemented by the armed forces of one state of the territory and the population of another state. Under the “effective control” of international humanitarian law means implementation by the occupying forces of the police and administrative functions in the respective territory and adoption of statutory acts mandatory for the local population. Another important criteria is that the occupying forces should be spread over the whole occupied territory which enables it to have direct control.


The situation with the presence of the Russian military in the Republic of Abkhazia and the Republic of South Ossetia cannot be substantiated by either of the abovementioned criteria. The Russian military personnel are located in their military bases and do not intervene in the life of the local population; they do not give any legal instructions or implement police or administrative functions. Therefore, the Russian armed forces in Abkhazia and South Ossetia cannot be considered as “occupying forces”. There is no regime of “occupation” as is defined by the international law or the international humanitarian law. Full and effective control over the territories of the Republic of Abkhazia and South Ossetia is implemented by their duly elected authorities.


Parliamentary and Presidential elections in the Republic of Abkhazia and South Ossetia in 2009, 2011 and 2012 confirmed that the electoral systems in these countries are democratic, open and legitimate, which was also confirmed by the international observers.


It should be noted that the authorities of Sukhum and Tskhinval had been implementing effective control over their territories and population long before the events of 2008 and the recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as sovereign and independent states.


The deployment of the Russian military bases in both countries has not changed the situation at all. The bases were deployed in Abkhazia and South Ossetia on the basis of bilateral agreements with Russia. The desire of the Georgian authorities to artificially introduce the term “occupied territories” is nothing but a propagandistic trick. It has nothing to do with the present political reality in the South Caucasus and aims at deceiving the international community.


Based on the exchange of opinion which took place in Geneva, the representatives of the Republic of Abkhazia and the Republic of South Ossetia call upon all the entities of the international law to refrain in the future from using the term “occupation” in relation to the presence of the Russian military units in Abkhazia and the South Ossetia, as well as from any other terms of that kind, since they are groundless de jure and de facto The representatives of the Republic of Abkhazia and the Republic of South Ossetia express hope that their partners for the Geneva Discussions on Security and Stability in the South Caucasus will follow this recommendation, which will contribute to the creation of constructive atmosphere and successful work in the framework of these international negotiations. Geneva,June 8, 2012


11.06.2012  Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the republic of Abkhazia


 Statement by the Foreign Ministry of the Republic of Abkhazia


After reviewing a number of statements made by the U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during her visit to Georgia, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Abkhazia considers it necessary to state the following.


We consider completely unacceptable and unlawful the use by the Secretary of State of the term “occupation” regarding the presence of Russian troops in Abkhazia. Exploitation of propaganda and false thesis on “Russian occupation” offends the people of Abkhazia, damaging the image of the United States in the Abkhazian society. Having experienced repeated acts of aggression from Georgia, we know too well the price of peace and security. Security guarantees provided by the Russian Federation - is a conscious choice of the people of Abkhazia and the result of bilateral agreements of our States. Therefore, the thesis of “Russian occupation” is contrary to international law and its support directly stirs up the revanchist moods of Tbilisi leadership.


We also consider erroneous the decision uttered by Hillary Clinton to recognize Georgia's so-called neutral passports. By this step the United States are at risk to commit an act of “collective punishment” of the citizens of Abkhazia, encouraging the policy of Tbilisi authorities on isolation of the Abkhaz society.


The propaganda campaign with “neutral travel documents” is another adventure of Mr. Saakashvili, which has no chance of realization. Citizens of Abkhazia are imposed by the documents, which they did not ask for. The decision to grant the citizens of Abkhazia so called Georgian "neutral passports" has never been discussed with the leadership of Abkhazia and was decided behind our backs and against the will of the Abkhaz people. We are offered Georgian, and not a neutral document, the adoption of which means an automatic rejection of the Abkhaz state identity.


Citizens of the Republic of Abkhazia refused to accept Georgian passports, even in those years when they did not possess any legal documents for the implementation of the inalienable right to travel. They refused because they were building an independent state and did not want to have anything to do with Georgia - an aggressor, which has destroyed 4% of its population. And today, the idea of an independent democratic state is the meaning of life of multiethnic people of Abkhazia. Residents of Abkhazia have their Abkhaz national passports which meet all international standards as well as universally recognized passport of the Russian Federation. Therefore, Tbilisi’s idea with so-called “neutral passports” is doomed to failure. It is unpromising to impose Georgian documents to citizens of Abkhazia, and it is understood by everyone who has real idea about the Abkhazian society.


We look forward to the responsible approach of the U.S. administration, which should provide our citizens the opportunity to choose with which documents they may enter the territory of the United States. In order to fully protect the rights of citizens of Abkhazia and de-isolation of the Abkhaz society we call upon the U.S. government to accept the available documents of citizens of Abkhazia in its consular offices. Only Tbilisi authorities can arrange such a situation in which the U.S. government by refusing to stamp visas in national Abkhazian or Russian passports will close their country for the citizens of Abkhazia.


Continuation of the policy of isolation of Abkhazia against support of Georgian militarism and revanchist is the worst thing that could make the U.S. government in terms of conflict resolution and stabilization of the situation in the region. We urge the U.S. administration not to follow the lead of Tbilisi and to take into account public opinion and legal authorities of the Republic of Abkhazia on all matters directly affecting the interests of our country and its citizens.


09.06.2012  Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the republic of Abkhazia


 Abkhazia to Continue Cooperation with the Countries of Latin America


At the press-conference on the results of the visit to the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela the representatives of the Abkhaz MFA stated that Abkhazia will continue cooperation with the countries of Latin America. On May 20-28 the Deputy Foreign Minister Irakli Khintba and the Head of Latin America, Asia, Africa and APR Department Adgur Chegia were on an official visit in Venezuela.


According to Adgur Chegia, the issues of more intensive and broad cooperation between the public authorities of Venezuela and Abkhazia were discussed during the visit. The Abkhaz diplomats held a number of meetings, including the meeting with the Deputy Foreign Minister Temir Porras, where they discussed broadening the relations between the two states.


On the invitation of the representatives of the “Friendship Group Abkhazia-Venezuela” the Abkhaz delegation visited the National Assembly – Parliament of the Country, where it was welcomed by the speaker. «We were given a very warm welcome and visited one of the sessions of the Venezuelan parliament. During our meeting with the speaker we discussed development of cooperation between different committees of the Abkhaz and the Venezuelan parliaments”.


Irakli Khintba and Adgur Chegia learned about a number of programs in the social area. They visited Child Cardiologic Center. “The Cardiologic Center is ready to sign an agreement with us to provide free medical treatment to the children from Abkhazia”, - said the Deputy Minister Irakli Khintba.


According to him, “The Venezuelan side is willing to support our initiatives”.


The representatives of the Abkhaz MFA had a meeting with the Executive Coordinator of the Executive Committee of ALBA.


07.06.2012  Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the republic of Abkhazia


 Decision of the United States to recognize so called Georgia’s neutral travel documents, is a mistake, Deputy Foreign Minister of Abkhazia, Irakly Khintba, said


Deputy Foreign Minister Irakly Khintba believes that the decision of the United States to recognize so called Georgia’s neutral travel documents is a mistake. He stated this during a press-conference which was held in Sukhum.


U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced in Batumi on June 6, that the U.S. would accept the status neutral travel documents issued by Georgia for residents of Abkhazia and South Ossetia who would like to visit the USA.


“I would not like to hype up this issue over Abkhazia and South Ossetia, as “only small portion” of Clinton’s speech was dedicated to it. But I deem this decision by the U.S. to recognize so called neutral passports is very erroneous”, Khintba said. “This is yet another strategic miscalculation by Obama administration after they agreed to use term ‘occupied territories’ in reference to Abkhazia and South Ossetia.”


He said that Georgia’s neutral travel documents had nothing to do with reconciliation and conflict resolution. “It will only incite Georgia’s new adventures,” Khintba said.


Irakly Khintba emphasized that the MFA of Abkhazia has a sample of this passport claiming to be neutral. “These are Georgian documents, issued by the Georgian authorities and these documents are part of Georgia’s state strategy on occupied territories. Country code GEO [Georgia] is clearly indicated on these documents,” Khintba said, adding that if a holder of this document would require a consular service while traveling abroad a Georgian diplomatic mission in that particular country would have to provide such services.


In fact, according to Khintba, these documents were in fact an attempt to impose on residents of Abkhazia and South Ossetia Georgian passports. “We have a confidence in a choice of our citizens and we hope that they understand how dangerous this proposal by Georgia about neutral documents is. We are sure, that our citizens, who have undergone through bloody war and brutal blockade and who have managed to establish an independent state, will never accept these documents,” he said. And nevertheless, he calls upon Abkhazian citizens to remain vigilant.


“They want to lure you into a trap, which the authorities in Tbilisi have been placing methodically for a long time already. Tbilisi’s goal is obvious – to return us back into Georgia,” Khintba said, addressing the citizens of Abkhazia.


As he said, according to Georgian legislation, this passport is issued only to persons who do not have citizenship of another country. It turns out that those citizens of Abkhazia, who, by mistake, will want or allow themselves to apply for this passport, will refuse from Abkhaz citizenship, from their country. "This is a very important political act that Tbilisi authorities are trying to impose on us. This is the refusal from national identity, rejection of blood suffered statehood. That's what this situation is dangerous about", - said Khintba.


“The Georgian authorities say that the goal of these neutral passports is to de-isolate residents of Abkhazia and to allow Abkhazians to travel around the world. This is cynical lie. If the authorities in Tbilisi care so much about our rights, why they have been stifling us with international blockade?” Why are they trying to chop off any of our external contacts? Why are we isolated, why economic projects, which are offered to Abkhazia from outside are blocked? Why each time when someone wants to communicate with the authorities of Abkhazia, hysteria begins in Tbilisi? Why the law on occupied territories is passed, which is unlawful, and very far from European values, and according to which entering the territory of Abkhazia through the checkpoint Psou is a crime to be punished? What kind of protection of the rights of citizens can then the Georgian authorities speak about? ".


Irakly Khintba is convinced that "they want to force Abkhazia to accept Georgian neutral passports, achieving that the citizens of Abkhazia could not travel by any other document but with the exception of this passport." The Georgian authorities are doing everything to ensure that no country in the world could stamp its visa in our passports. Therefore, they want to force us to give up our identity. But, they will not see this, I believe in our people,"- said Khintba.


Deputy Foreign Minister said that he was not surprised by the statement of Hillary Clinton, but "a little disappointed." Not surprised, because in Abkhazia people got used to unfriendly steps of the U.S. administration and disappointed because the Americans had opportunities to know the opinion of the Abkhaz society. American politicians and researchers have repeatedly visited Abkhazia as well as very large mission of the U.S. government-funded organization - USAID. Khintba is confident that the information which they got here is contrary to the statement made by Clinton.


“I am surprised that Americans don’t understand that the Georgian adventure involving neutral passports is doomed to failure and there is no need to allocate money for continuation of this adventure. We also see that the goal of Obama administration is not to protect rights of Abkhaz citizens, but to make various geopolitical calculations and to indulge whims of its puppets in Tbilisi,” Khintba said.


07.06.2012  Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the republic of Abkhazia


 The Head of the Abkhaz MFA Viacheslav Chirikba Congratulates D.G. Sanakoev on His Appointment as Minister of Foreign Affairs of the RSO


The Head of the Abkhaz MFA Viacheslav Chirikba congratulated G.D. Sanakoev on his appointment as Minister of Foreign Affairs of the RSO. The letter of congratulations reads as follows: “I am confident that your high professional qualities and commitment will lead to effective realization of foreign policy of the South Ossetia. For my part I will be happy to contribute to the development and strengthening of cooperation between our Ministries”.


07.06.2012  Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the republic of Abkhazia


 The Abkhaz Delegation to Participate in the 20th Round of the Geneva Discussions on Security and Stability in the South Caucasus on June 7-9


The Abkhaz delegation has left for participation in the 20th round of the Geneva Discussions on Security and Stability in the South Caucasus, which will take place on June 7-8. The Abkhaz delegation is headed by the Foreign Minister Viacheslav Chirikba and includes the Head of Turkey and Middle East Department Inar Gytsba, the Head of Europe, USA and Canada Department Lana Agrba and the member of the Executive Committee of the International Association of the Abkhaz-Abazin People (Abaza) Zeki Kapba.


The Deputy Foreign Minister Irakli Khintba informed Apsnypress that current situation and security in the border area are planned for the discussion. Signing of a non-use of force agreement as a legally binding document between Abkhazia and Georgia and the South Ossetia and Georgia will remain the main issue.


Beside that the participants will discuss the ideas for overcoming the present crisis with the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism /IPRM/.


According to Mr. Khintba the Abkhaz delegation will reaffirm at the meeting the invariability of the position of the Abkhaz side which states that the Head of the EU Monitoring Mission /EUMM/ Andrzej Tyszkiewicz is unwelcome in Abkhazia.


At the suggestion of the South-Ossetian side the term “occupation” and its applicability to Abkhazia and the South Ossetia will be discussed at the meeting.


“Abkhazia and the South Ossetia will make an international legal, politological and historical analysis of the theory and practice of occupation and will argue that Abkhazia and the South Ossetia are not occupied territories, which is evident” – noted Khintba. “The issue of the travel documents will also be raised. The Abkhaz side will once again state that the so-called Georgian neutral passports are unacceptable and destructive and will propose to consider recognition of the Abkhaz travel documents which meet all the international standards”.


According to the Deputy Minister the Abkhaz side will not participate in the discussion of the refugee issue until it is given an opportunity to present its viewpoint on this matter at the UN General Assembly.


“The Abkhaz side will also raise the issue of the increased Georgian subversive and terrorist activity in the border area” – stressed Irakli Khintba. /Apsnypress/


06.06.2012  Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the republic of Abkhazia