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
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.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the republic of Abkhazia