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Economic Links To Abkhazia Restored

Published: March 11, 2008 (Issue # 1355)


TBILISI Georgia decried Russias decision to restore economic and transport links to the breakaway Black Sea region of Abkhazia, which plans to ask Russia to recognize its independence, citing Kosovo as a precedent.

This will be viewed as the economic annexation of Abkhazia, which is part of Georgia, Temur Iakobashvili, Georgias minister for reintegration issues, said Thursday by telephone in the capital, Tbilisi.

This once again proves that Russia has a political and economic stake in the peace talks.

Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili has accused Russia of backing separatist regimes in Abkhazia and another region, South Ossetia. Both regions broke away during wars in the 1990s and have pro-Russian leaderships and Russian peacekeepers. Saakashvili has pledged to bring them back under federal control. Most of their citizens hold Russian passports.

South Ossetia on Wednesday appealed to the United Nations, European and Russian leaders to recognize its independence, citing Kosovo. Abkhazia plans to ask Russia to recognize it as a sovereign state based on the same precedent, Abkhaz Foreign Ministry spokesman Irakli Tuzhba said yesterday.

Russias Foreign Ministry announced that the government would no longer honor a 1996 agreement on Abkhazia reached by the heads of the Commonwealth of Independent States that prohibited member governments from having economic relations and transport links with Abkhazia.

The goal was to pressure Abkhazia into allowing people displaced by the 1992-1993 war to return home, the ministry said in a statement on its web site.

Russia called on other CIS members to follow its lead and restore relations with Abkhazia.

First Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Denisov said removing the ban on economic ties to Abkhazia isnt in any way related to Kosovo and doesnt reflect a change in Russias position on Georgias territorial integrity, the Interfax news service reported.

Iakobashvili said the move was connected to Russias efforts to develop its Black Sea coast before it hosts the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, located a short distance from Abkhazia. Sochi is one of their main concerns, he said.

Gia Khukhashvili, head of the Association for Georgian Economic Security, said Russia will never recognize Abkhazias independence.

Abkhazians can see a brighter future right next door, with job opportunities, while Georgia has nothing to offer, he said.

This is a clever business-related strategy, and it shows once again how ineffective Georgias conflict-resolution strategy really is.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Thursday, July 31


Develop your leadership abilities during a lecture by famous Russian author and coach Radislav Gandapas. The event starts at 9 a.m. at 5 Lodeinopolskaya Ulitsa. The price for entry is 20,500 rubles ($570).


Relax and enjoy a Parisian atmosphere with some romantic and laidback jazz tunes during the Night of French Music at Lenny Jam Cafe, 63 Ligovsky Prospekt. The entrance fee is 250 rubles ($7).


The Womens Business Club is hosting a Beauty Brunch where participants are invited to discuss the latest news in the beauty industry and listen to lectures by professional stylists in the business.



Friday, Aug. 1


Bikers from all around the world will gather to take part in a parade, extreme shows and rock concerts during the International Biker Festival that revs its engines today and runs through Aug. 3 near Olgino Hotel, 4/2 Primorskogo Shosse.


The Peter and Paul Fortress will be turned into an open-air cinema today and tomorrow as part of the 5th International Short and Animation Film Festival. A huge screen across the fortress walls will air short films non-stop with board games, photo sessions and other activities also on offer for visitors. For more information, visit www.opencinemafest.ru



Saturday, Aug. 2


Gatchina Palace Park Museum will host its second annual Night of Light, an impressive audio-visual show across the night sky. Tickets are 600 rubles ($16).


If graphic design is more your thing then check out Illustration Day, where you will be able to visit an exhibition, attend lectures by professionals and even show experts some of your own work. The event starts at noon at Zona Deystvia, 73 Ligovsky Prospekt. The entrance fee is 350 rubles ($10).



Sunday, Aug. 3


History lovers shouldnt miss the chance to see reenactments of World War I battles in Pushkin at noon. Besides exciting war scenes, visitors can enjoy live music, historical costumes, an equestrian show and a fancy-dress parade starting from the Moscow gates.


Garage Sale, the popular and growing flea market where nothing is priced over 500 rubles ($14.11), starts today at noon in Loft-Project Etagi, 74 Ligovsky Prospekt. Be sure to get in early to score a bargain. Entry costs 50 rubles ($1.40)



Monday, Aug. 4


Continue the working week with a calm and steady mind with a free yoga lesson at 7 p.m. in the Bukvoyed store at 23A Vladimirsky Prospekt.



Tuesday, Aug. 5


Visit The Romanov Dynasty doll exhibition today, where more than fifty porcelain dolls depicting Russian rulers, and made by Olina Ventzel, will be on show. The exhibition continues through Aug. 31 in Sheremetyev Palace, 34 Fontanka Naberezhnaya.



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