Abkhazia Tour and tales , politics and more


Executive Summary
Georgia’s peaceful change of government in 2012 stoked optimism about reducing
the open hostility with Russia and Abkhazia since the 2008 war. Though swift agreement on larger questions – like Abkhazia’s status or the return of Georgian internally
displaced persons (IDPs) – is highly unlikely, the three sets of authorities at least
share a common interest to cooperate in incremental confidence-building measures.
For the immediate future, therefore, it would be beneficial for all sides to concentrate
on achievable goals, including an intensified dialogue on basic security-related and
humanitarian issues.
Russia wields effective control over Abkhazia because of its huge financial support
and large military presence, so any major progress on resolving the twenty-year conflict thus requires a similar breakthrough between Tbilisi and Moscow, who have no
diplomatic relations. Since becoming the head of Georgia’s government in October

 Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili has made improved ties with Moscow a priority. Progress toward the partial lifting – for wines and mineral waters – of Russia’s
seven-year embargo on Georgian produce is a first concrete outcome of his efforts.
But the new government increasingly emphasises that without a change in Moscow’s
positions, Russia remains “a threat” and Georgia’s military must be kept on alert.
Some clear areas of discord exist between the Abkhaz and Russians as well. Russia
would like more opportunities for its citizens to buy property and invest in the development of tourist infrastructure but has faced legal obstacles and public discontent.
Relations between the Orthodox Church in Moscow and Sukhumi, the capital of Abkhazia, are strained. 

Disputes over territory and a new road to the North Caucasus
demonstrate the Abkhaz leadership’s unwillingness to hand over all authority. With
Russian funding for a massive socio-economic program apparently held up, Abkhazia’s
2013 budget may be only half what it was in 2012.
Nevertheless, officially at least, the Abkhaz have so far reacted coolly to Georgian
overtures, including for resumption of direct talks, even though the new government
in Tbilisi includes several ministers with track records of constructive ties with them.
In the last few months, Georgia’s new government ended support for armed groups
operating in Abkhazia’s Gali district and started to modify legislation and practice
related to its “law on occupied territories”, which placed largely symbolic limits on
the free movement of goods and people in and out of Abkhazia. Unlike the previous
government, it has focused more on offering ways to engage with the Abkhaz, rather
than largely rhetorical declarations of its official sovereignty over the entity.
Despite the seeming intractability of political questions, taking up any chance to
enhance security in the region would be positive for all sides. In recent months, there
has been a marked decrease in violence in the Gali district, but the area, with Russian troops guarding the administrative boundary line (ABL) dividing Georgian and
Abkhaz-held territory, still inspires much distrust and sense of insecurity. The local
population has limits on its free movement and other basic rights. Moscow has also
made claims about alleged radical Islamist activities in the entity and about plots to
launch attacks against the Sochi “[Winter] Olympic Zone” just 4km from Abkhazia.
Abkhaz leaders themselves speak of threats posed by the possible growth of Islamist
Abkhazia: The Long Road to Reconciliation
Crisis Group Europe Report N°224, 10 April 2013 Page ii
A beneficial step would be the immediate resumption of the Gali Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism (IPRM) meetings and joint fact-finding missions that
the Abkhaz are boycotting. Efforts should focus on a joint statement on the non-use
of force, as proposed by the co-chairs of the Geneva International Discussions: the
UN, Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and EU. Concentrating on broader security threats, like stability in Gali and perceived terrorism risks,
Georgia could also show good-will by suspending its annual efforts to secure resolutions
at the UN General Assembly on the right of Georgian IDPs to return to their homes.
Abkhaz officials, who have protested the resolutions, could reciprocate by committing
to start a real dialogue with the Georgians on IDP issues, including the return of their
properties in Abkhazia and/or compensation.
Georgian officials have shown a willingness to be more flexible on humanitarian
issues, such as removing legal or bureaucratic hurdles for residents of Abkhazia to
obtain visas, especially to study abroad. The Abkhaz could respond by lifting barriers
to mother tongue education for ethnic Georgians still living in the entity and increasing their presence in local administrative structures. All sides would benefit by seeking creative ways to facilitate trade and travel across the ABL for family visits, and
trade, health or education purposes.
The international community, particularly the EU, should remain engaged in Abkhazia, seeking ways to increase the entity’s access and exposure to information and
expertise. The Abkhaz have over the past several months become more critical of the
work of the EU, Western states and international NGOs, suspending some activities.
Sukhumi claims that this work is insignificant compared to Russian support and is
disorganised, piecemeal and too focused on post-war emergency needs even though
the situation has largely stabilised. Yet, it would not help Abkhazia’s cause to restrict
its access to the outside world to its road to Russia.
Russia’s lack of implementation of the EU-brokered 2008 ceasefire agreement and
the fate of Georgian IDPs prevented from returning to Abkhazia remain core issues
of fundamental importance. However, this report concentrates on recent developments,
and offers ways to establish some common ground that would benefit all sides. A
subsequent separate report will deal with South Ossetia, which due to its much smaller
size, idiosyncratic conflict history and extreme physical isolation deserves separate

 Abkhazia: The Long Road to Reconciliation
Crisis Group Europe Report N°224, 10 April 2013 Page iii
To improve the security environment
To all participants – Georgian, Russian and Abkhaz – in the Geneva
International Discussions:
1. Agree to a draft statement at the Geneva International Discussions on the non-use
of force.
2. Resume participation in the Gali Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism
(IPRM), at an expert level initially if that is the most suitable, and in its joint factfinding missions when violent incidents occur.
To better provide for IDPs
To the Georgian Government:
3. Suspend efforts to secure annual UN General Assembly resolutions on IDPs.
To the Abkhaz authorities:
4. Re-engage fully in Working Group II of the Geneva International Discussions
and seriously engage in a good-faith discussion of mechanisms to begin addressing
property return and compensation for IDPs and refugees
To improve conditions for other persons affected by the conflict

legal consultations and travel advisor in the States and within UK

Media solutions , Media company , online classes , learn german , learn english , perfect language , blood cord , rehab , rehabiliations , rehabilitation center , magazitta

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post

Contact Form