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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 24


Liliana Modiliani, a well-known Russian stylist, will talk about choosing clothes that fit during her lecture at 7 p.m. at the Pryamoy Efir art club, 13 Viborgskoe Shosse.



Friday, July 25


Discuss Russias economic and political prospects for 2014 during a Business Breakfast organized by SPIBA at 9.30 a.m. in the Bank Saint-Petersburg office at 64


Malookhtinsky Prospekt.


Start your weekend with adorable miniature pigs at the Squealing Pig festival at 7 p.m. this evening in the Karl & Friedrich restaurant, 15 Iozhnaya doroga, on Krestovsky Island.



Saturday, July 26


Hundreds of brand-new and retro cars, drag and drift shows, test drives and karting are planned for the Avtobum-2014 festival, which will take place in front of the RIO shopping center at 2 Fuchika Ulitsa.


Participants in todays SaniDay Summer competition will impress visitors with their hand-made, unusual and hilarious boats, which will race at the Igora Resort near the 54th kilometer on Priozerskoe Shosse.


Metro Family Day will include both serious lectures for adults and master-classes for children, making the event interesting for the whole family. To participate, come to Kirov Park on Yelagin Island.


Photography will be the focus of todays Photosubbota, which features lectures by famous photographers, meetings with photo schools and studio representatives, and participation in a photography competition. The event starts at noon at Petrokongress, 5 Lodeynopolskaya Ulitsa.


If you like cycling, make sure to visit the Za Velogorod Festival with its retro bike exhibition, market and live music. The second round of the Leningrad Criterium race will also take place during the event at Petrovsky Arsenal in Sestroretsk.



Sunday, July 27


Navy Day will be celebrated with a weapon and military transportation exhibition, self-defense master classes and concerts. The event starts at 1 p.m. in the 300th Anniversary Park of St. Petersburg.



Monday, July 28


Dont miss a chance to see the latest achievements in robotics during the RoboDom interactive show, exhibiting more than 150 robots. The show will be at BUM center, 22/2 Gzhatskaya Ulitsa, until Aug. 3. The entrance ticket costs 350 rubles ($10).



Tuesday, July 29


A video of a Queen concert from 1986 will be shown today at 8 p.m. in Yaschik, 50/13 Ligovsky Prospekt.



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