Abkhazia to coordinate its foreign policy with Russia – Bagapsh

RIA Novosti, Russia
Jan 25 2005


MOSCOW, January 25 (RIA Novosti) – Abkhazia plans to coordinate its
foreign policy with Russia, announced president-elect of the
self-proclaimed republic of Abkhazia Sergei Bagapsh during a joint
press conference with vice-president Raul Khadzhimba in Moscow.

“The future of Abkhazia in becoming an independent state. We will
build partnership relations with Russia and will orient ourselves on
Russia and strengthening economic relations with it,” Mr. Bagapsh

“We will participate in the meeting of the Russian Security Council
today. We plan to discuss existing economic issues and problems at
the meeting,” Mr. Bagapsh continued.

He said the discussion of economic issues at the meeting would be
held with participation of “representatives of other structures that
deal with economic issues in Russia.” The participants also plan to
discuss the reopening of the railway transit through Abkhazia to
Armenia and the issues related to energy industry.

Talking about the necessity of coordinating the Russian and Abkhazian
legislation, Mr. Bagapsh explained, “We have to do it in order to
avoid controversy in our economic relations, in order to protect
investments.” “Nobody is trying to change the Russian legislation,”
Mr. Bagapsh added.

Answering the question about the future relations with the Georgian
leadership, Mr. Bagapsh stated that the Abkhazian position on the
Georgian-Abkhazian settlement remains unchanged.

Mr. Bagapsh stated that the forcible solution of the
Georgian-Abkhazian conflict was unacceptable and all issues must be
settled through negotiations.

One of the journalists asked Mr. Bagapsh whether Abkhazia was going
to choose the alliance with Russia or it would prefer the alliance
with Georgia.

“If we are forced to make a choice, and the issue does not include
only Georgia, but also some Western countries, we will make it
immediately,” Sergei Bagapsh stressed.

Speaking about the possibility of his personal meeting with Georgian
President Mikhail Saakashvili, Mr. Bagapsh stated that such a meeting
would have to be thoroughly prepared. “If the sides have too many
antagonisms, such a meeting will be unreasonable. Meeting without a
purpose does not make any sense,” Mr. Bagapsh said. He mentioned that
there were Georgian-Abkhazian working groups and committees that must
tackle the entire range of bilateral issues.