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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, Sept. 18


Get your nerd on at Boomfest, St. Petersburgs answer to the United States popular ComicCon. Starting today, this international festival of comics will take over venues throughout the city center and includes exhibitions of comics and illustrations, film screenings, competitions and the chance to meet the genres authors, artists and experts.



Friday, Sept. 19


SPIBAs newest addition to their Cultural Discoveries events is Handmade in Germany, an exhibition featuring unique handmade objects of a significantly higher quality than mass-produced items. The work of over 100 German manufacturers will be displayed during the event, which opens today in the Lutheran Church of Saint Peter and Paul on Nevsky Prospekt and runs through Sept. 28.



Saturday, Sept. 20


Starting on Sept. 18 and ending tomorrow is the Extreme Fantasy Wakeboarding Festival in Sunpark by Sredny Suzdalskoye lake in the Ozerki region of the city.


Those after something more laid back can instead head to Jazz and Wine night at TerraVino with legendary jazz guitarist Ildar Kazahanov. 12/14 Admiralteyskaya Emb.



Sunday, Sept. 21


Learn more about African culture and get some exercise during todays Djembe and Vuvuzela, a bike ride starting in Palace Square that includes several stops where riders can listen to the music of Africa or watch short films about the continent. The riders plan to set off at 4 p.m. and all you need to join is a set of wheels.



Monday, Sept. 22


Do you love puppetry? If so, then be sure to go to BTK-Fest, a five-day festival that starts on Sept. 19 celebrating the art. Contemporaries from France, Belgium, the U.K. and other countries will join Russian artists to put on theatrical performances involving a variety of themes, materials and eras. Workshops and meetings are also scheduled for a chance to discuss the artistic medium in further depth.



Tuesday, Sept. 23


Marina Suhih, Director of the External Communications Department at Rostelecom North-West, and Yana Donskaya, HR Director for Northern Capital Gateway are just some of the confirmed participants of todays round table discussion on Interaction with Trade Unions being hosted by SPIBA. Confirm your attendance with SPIBA by Sept. 22.


Kino Expo 2014, an international film industry convention, will be at LenExpo from today until Sept. 26. The third largest exhibition of film equipment in the world, the expo focuses on not only Russia but former Soviet republics as well.



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