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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

Wednesday, Oct. 22


English teachers can expect to receive a few useful pointers today from Evgeny Kalashnikov, the British Council regional teacher, during the EFL Seminar this afternoon hosted by the British Book Center. The topic of todays seminar is Grammar Practice.


Young Petersburgers will get the chance to jumpstart their careers at Professional Growth, a job fair and forum featuring more than 40 major Russian and international companies vying for potential candidates for future positions. The forum not only is a chance to network but also to learn more about the modern business world and to understand what it takes to get the job you want.



Thursday, Oct. 23


AmChams Public Relations Committee meeting is scheduled to meet this morning at 9 a.m. in their office in the New St. Isaac Office Center.


Sportsmen get their chance to stock up on all kinds of gear at the Hunting and Fishing 2014 exhibition starting today at Lenexpo. Everything from rods and reels to boats, motorcycles and equipment for underwater hunting will be on sale so that any avid outdoorsman can always be prepared.



Friday, Oct. 24


SPIBAs ongoing Breakfast with the Director series continues today, featuring Tomas Hajek, Managing Director of the Northwest Division at Danone Russia. Hajek will be discussing collaborations between businesses from different cultures. The meeting is at 9 a.m. at the Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel and all who wish to attend must confirm their participation by Oct. 23.


Get your gong on at Sounds of the Universe, a concert at the city planetarium this evening incorporating six different gongs to create relaxing songs that will transport you upwards into the stratosphere. Tickets are 700 rubles ($17).



Saturday, Oct. 25


AVA Expo, the eighth edition of the event revolving around all things pop culture, returns to Lenexpo this weekend. Geeks, nerds, dweebs and dorks will have their chance to talk science fiction and explore a variety of international pop culture. Tickets for the event can be purchased on their website at avaexpo.ru.



Sunday, Oct. 26


Zenit St. Petersburg returns home for the first time in nearly a month as they host Mordovia Saransk in a Russian Premier League game. Currently at the top of the league thanks to their undefeated start to the season, the northern club hopes to extend the gap between them and second-place CSKA Moscow and win the title for the first time in three years. Tickets are available at the stadium box office or on the clubs website.



Monday, Oct. 27


Today marks the end of the art exhibit Neophobia at the Erarta Museum. Artists Alexey Semichov and Andrei Kuzmin took a neo-modernist approach to represent the array of fears that are ever-present throughout our lives. Tickets are 200 rubles ($4.90).



Tuesday, Oct. 28


The Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel plays host to SPIBAs Marketing and Communications Committees round table discussion on Government Relations Practices in Russia this morning. The discussion starts at 9:30 a.m. and participation must be confirmed by Oct. 24.



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