Voice of the Abkhazians

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

 Statement of the MFA of Abkhazia on the Reaction of Some Countries and Organizations to the 2012 Parliamentary Elections in Abkhazia


Sukhum, Upon completion of the first round of voting in the elections to the People's Assembly – Parliament of the Republic of Abkhazia - and the current time, some countries and organizations have declared the 2012 Parliamentary elections in Abkhazia "illegitimate". Such statements have been made by NATO, the US Department of State and the US Embassy in Georgia, the Delegation of the EU to Georgia, PACE co-reporters on Georgia and the Foreign Ministries of Georgia, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Poland and Azerbaijan.


In this regard the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Abkhazia emphasizes that the countries and organizations which declared the 2012 Parliamentary Elections in Abkhazia "illegitimate" did not see fit to support their conclusions by any legal or factual evidence. Such conclusions could have been made only from direct observation of preparation and conduct of voting in the elections to the People's Assembly of the Republic of Abkhazia. However, none of the above-mentioned countries and organizations sent their observers here, though the Central Election Commission of Abkhazia would have definitely provided them everything necessary for quality monitoring of the voting process.


It should be noted, that all observers, including the ones representing UN-member states – Russia, Venezuela, Nicaragua and Tuvalu, as well as the European Parliament and international non-governmental organizations confirmed that the 2012 Parliamentary elections in Abkhazia met all international democratic standards. Abkhazia has already held several transparent Presidential and Parliamentary elections and established a democratic system. The people of Abkhazia recognized the legitimacy of voting procedures in their state long ago.


The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Abkhazia considers the statements about "illegitimacy" of the elections to the People's Assembly of the Republic of Abkhazia as unfair, politically motivated and hostile to the free choice of the people of Abkhazia. We denounce the recurrent attempts of some countries and organizations to dismiss the successful development of democratic institutions and processes in the Republic of Abkhazia.


The double standards and political bias demonstrated by the above-mentioned countries and organizations can neither benefit the democratic developments in the region nor increase confidence in the participation of some of these actors in post-conflict resolution processes in the South Caucasus.


03.22.2012  Apsnypress


 Ankuab has given an interview to the Italian magazine "Eurasia"


Ankuab has given an interview to the editor of the Italian magazine "Eurasia", Filippo Pederzini. He is currently in Abkhazia, along with professor of sociology Mauro Murgia. Murgia has visited Abkhazia several times and is President of the Association of Italo-Abkhazian friendship. In the first issue of "Eurasia" this year appears the editor's conversation with Mauro Murgia on the topic of Abkhazia."Recently there has developed in Italy an interest in Abkhazia, not only among citizens but also among political circles," said Mauro Murgia.


"Rather than talk about Abkhazia, the Abkhazians should be allowed to speak for themselves. That is our opinion," said Filippo Pederzini.


Ankuab recalled that, in ancient times, links existed between Abkhazia and Rome and noted that today, especially, these links links should be developed.


"There are some double standards, and these must be overcome. And one of the tools to overcome is these standards is [dissemination of] information about Abkhazia. You are already doing this," said the president.


The guests expressed interest in the domestic and foreign policy of Abkhazia.


"We are faced with specific goals, and we will attain them. Russia is the only country that is providing us with full support. All others, especially the EU countries, are interested in the question of whether or not we are going to survive," said Alexandr Ankuab.


The President reiterated that recognition by Russia was a huge breakthrough in our recent history.


"Something that has been sought by more than one generation of our people has been achieved," said Alexandr Ankuab.


The guests were also interested in other issues. They noted that it would be beneficial to develop relations between our countries in the spheres of education and sport.


"We are interested in this," said Alexandr Ankuab.


He noted that in Abkhazia there are a lot of fans of Italian football.


"We have nothing against flying to Italy to watch matches," the president added.


Filippo Pederzini and Mauro Murgia noted that the citizens of Abkhazia can easily obtain visas at the Italian Embassy in Moscow.


"We are proud of this," they said.


03.15.2012  Apsnypress


UNPO General Secretary Welcomes Completion of the First Round of Voting in Abkhazia’s Parliamentary Elections

Abkhazia Demonstrates its Maturing Democracy


The Hague, As a turnout of 44.5% is recorded in the most recent elections to be conducted in Abkhazia, attentions now focus on run-off polling scheduled for 24 March 2012 that will decide the composition of the country’s People’s Assembly.


Without substantive international support or advice Abkhazia has evaluated, trialed, and implemented voting systems and procedures that not only meet the standards of international election observers but have built a political system that is resilient and reflective of the needs and priorities of its people.


Organisations such as the US-based Freedom House rank Abkhazia favourably compared to its much larger and better-resourced regional neighbours. From UNPO’s missions to Abkhazia it is clear that a vibrant civil society and non-governmental sector wants to make the next step in capacity-building and good governance.


Therefore, the international community must use these polls, not as an opportunity to sanction the free expression of all the people of Abkhazia, but to identify what can be done to support responsible journalism, voter education, and youth participation in democratic processes that are universal.


03.14.2012  unpo


 The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Abkhazia comments on the conclusions of the EU Foreign Affairs Council on the South Caucasus


Sukhum, The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Abkhazia has thoroughly familiarized itself with the conclusions of the EU Foreign Affairs Council on the South Caucasus which confirms the commitment of the EU to remain involved in conflict resolution and stabilization of the situation in the region as well as to strengthening its cooperation with the Abkhaz and South Ossetian communities.


First of all, it should be noted that it is not possible to pursue "greater EU visibility" in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, or "to start transformative work," without respecting the political choice made by the peoples of these independent states. Contrary to the proclaimed purpose to "engage" the citizens of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, the EU is alienating them by its discriminatory visa policy. It is evident that in recent years, Europe, as never before, has become closed to these citizens.


It is frustrating that the EU Foreign Ministers welcome the inefficient and politicized Georgian strategy for so called "engagement" with Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Such statements can only discredit the European plans for cooperation with Abkhazia. It is becoming more and more difficult to distinguish the European interests towards Abkhazia from the interests of Tbilisi authorities. The Absence of substantial differences between the European and Georgian approaches impedes the improvement of relations between the EU and Abkhazia.


As long as the European strategy "Engagement without Recognition" means in reality "maximum non-recognition and minimum engagement", any European initiatives towards Abkhazia will hardly be supported by the Abkhaz community. It is becoming more and more difficult to build confidence between Abkhazia and the European Union, which unambiguously has a pro-Georgian position.


The Russian military presence, about which the EU Ministers expressed their concern, is seen by the citizens of Abkhazia as the only real guarantee of security. Continuing reluctance of Georgia to sign a legal non-use of force document with Abkhazia and South Ossetia once again convinces the Abkhaz and South Ossetian people of the revanchist plans of Tbilisi authorities. All "sustainable security arrangements" proposed for the Geneva Discussions should take into account the positions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as parties to the conflict and legitimate subjects of the negotiation process.


We appreciate the role of the Geneva Discussions on Security and Stability. We do not doubt the positive effect of a regional European presence, realised by the mandate of the EU's Special Representative for the South Caucasus. At the same time it is evident, that there will be no actual progress as long as the primary importance in negotiations, or any other political interaction, is assigned to the restoration of Georgia's "territorial integrity". Such political and legal programming of negotiation strategy by our Western colleagues is the main obstacle for resolution of the conflicts.


Nonetheless, despite the different positions, there is still an opportunity for making relations between Abkhazia and the EU more constructive. It is to our satisfaction to note that the executive authorities of the European Union do not use the term "occupied territory" imposed by Georgia when they refer to Abkhazia and South Ossetia. We also welcome the fact that the conclusions appeal to the Georgian authorities to enhance integration of refugees into the communities of their current residence in this country.


Abkhazia is a part of Europe. We are ready to cooperate with those European and international political bodies which have at least a neutral position on the political and legal status of Abkhazia. Unfortunately, judging by the whole histrionic spirit of the conclusions, the European politicians are still preoccupied by obstinate commitment to the non-existing mythical "territorial integrity of Georgia". Only deliverance from such useless and outdated complexes can contribute to a more positive EU presence in Abkhazia and South Ossetia as well as in the whole region. Source: MFA Abkhazia


03.08.2012  abkhazworld.com


 A delegation from Tuvalu Arrives in Abkhazia


Sukhum, On 7 March, a delegation from Tuvalu, headed by Prime Minister Willy Telavi, arrived in Abkhazia. The same day, the President of Abkhazia received th high-ranking guests.


Aleksandr Ankuab, on behalf of the people and the leadership of the country, welcomed to soil of Abkhazia the delegation of Tuvalu, headed by the Prime Minister.


"Welcome to the country you have recognised!" said Aleksandr Ankuab. Willy Telavi thanked the leadership for the warm welcome. He greeted the President on behalf of the people of Tuvalu.This is the second visit to Abkhazia by the Prime Minister of this Pacific Ocean state. The first time he visited our country was September last year.


"I have come to renew our friendly relations," said the Prime Minister. He spoke briefly about the history of Tuvalu and about the current state of affairs. He stressed that Tuvalu, as a state, is a member of the UN, and that in the near future it will be providing Abkhazia with the highest support for its recognition by the international community.


The President of Abkhazia expressed his gratitude for the support. He noted that, despite the distance between our two countries, cooperation is already underway.


The Prime Minister said that goodwill would overcome all distances. "You are fighting for the truth, and we support your efforts," said the Prime Minister of Tuvalu.


Aleksandr Ankuab said that there are many unjust standards in the world of which many countries take advantage.


"We value our independence, which was attained at the cost of immense losses. We will not retreat from this decision. As a people we share your tenacity, and we shall go forward," said Aleksandr Ankuab.


03.08.2012  MFA Abkhazia


 Vyacheslav Chirikba: "We simply will not read these letters"


Sukhum, Political advisor to the Council of Europe Rozaria Pulisi has arrived in Abkhazia. The European diplomat met with the republic’s Foreign Minister, Vyacheslav Chirikba. In the course of their talks they discussed the situation in the Gal district, the possibility of a UNESCO mission visiting Abkhazia, and other sensitive issues.


Visits to Abkhazia by European officials are becoming more frequent. Almost every week, representatives of varying levels of seniority of different EU agencies visit Sukhum and meet with the president and government representatives. As Abkhaz Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Chirikba noted, the intensification of dialogue with Europe is already bearing fruit - it gives grounds for optimism regarding the prospects for developing relations between the European Union and Abkhazia.


"There is now undoubtedly a greater understanding, a better knowledge of the situation, but whether the relationship has changed is of course a different question," Vyacheslav Chirikba said.


The head of the Abkhaz Foreign Ministry said the primary objective of the talks with European official Rozaria Pulisi was to ensure that the views of the Abkhaz side are reflected in the Secretary General of the Council of Europe’s report, which is currently being drafted, on the situation in the region. In addition, the diplomats discussed current problems, in particular the situation in the border district of Gal.


"During the dialogue, which was quite a long one, we touched on the situation in the Gal district, which is deteriorating: as you know, there have been several murders there. The activities of Georgia’s secret services are generally of great concern to us, and we have to make this clear," Vyacheslav Chirikba said.


The Abkhaz side formally protested yet again against the EU’s visa policy. Vyacheslav Chirikba said that Sukhum will continue to raise the possibility of issuing European visas to holders of Abkhazian passports. He recalled that even Georgia issues visas to holders of Kosovo passports although it has not recognized Kosovo as an independent state. The issue of Abkhaz historic monuments was also raised.


"We explained that this is our past, that these are our monuments. We very much want to obtain help in restoring and preserving them. We would welcome the sending of a UNESCO mission that would assess the state of our monuments and perhaps help to finance their reconstruction," Vyacheslav Chirikba said.


After the talks with Mrs. Pulisi, the Abkhaz Foreign Minister made a landmark political statement.


"We shall not in future consider any official letters addressed to us if they use the incorrect names of Abkhazian towns - "Gali", "Sukhumi". We simply will not read these letters," said Vyacheslav Chirikba.


The negotiations with the European diplomat took place behind closed doors. After the meeting with the Minister, Mrs. Pulisi chose not to talk to the press, so until the statement of the Council of Europe Secretary General is made public one can only guess at the European reaction to the Abkhaz Foreign Minister’s statement and not draw any conclusions.


03.05.2012  MFA Abkhazia