Abkhazia to continue talking associate membership with Russia

RIA Novosti, Russia
March 18 2005

ABKHAZIA TO CONTINUE TALKING ASSOCIATE MEMBERSHIP WITH RUSSIA

MOSCOW, March 18 (RIA Novosti) – Abkhazia (self-proclaimed republic
in Georgia) will continue dialog with Moscow on getting the status of
an associate member in the Russian Federation, President of Abkhazia
Sergei Bagapsh told journalists in Moscow on Friday.

“The theme is still topical and remains on the agenda,” he said.

“We’ll carry out dialog with the State Duma (lower chamber of Russian
parliament), other Russian authorities for the matter to continue. It
will not stop,” Bagapsh added.

The president of the unrecognized republic of Abkhazia is ready to
meet with Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili for talks.

Only recently Saakashvili said he was ready to meet with Bagapsh and
discuss the political status of Abkhazia within Georgia.

“It is a normal, good symptom. But such meetings have to be
prepared,” Bagapsh said.

Working groups are already setting to work and “we’ve made our
proposals,” he specified. In the opinion of the Abkhaz side, the
talks should begin with the discussion of economic matters and
problems. “There are such matters of benefit to Abkhazia, Georgia,
Russia and the entire Caucasian region,” Bagapsh noted. One is
through railway communication.

Bagapsh also said that within two weeks the leaders of South Ossetia
and Transdniestria (self-proclaimed republics in Georgia and
Moldova), Nagorny Karabakh (region in Azerbaijan populated by
Armenians) and Abkhazia are going to meet and discuss settlement in
their regions, Bagapsh said.

“We’ve had the first meeting but it was off-the-cuff. Now we are
going to have an official meeting to consider the present state of
affairs,” he said.

Bagapsh said he was getting alarming information on “active actions”
allegedly possible in spring or summer in the territory of Abkhazia,
South Ossetia and Transdniestria. He did not specify what he meant.

“If somebody wants to unleash another conflict, we’ll try to prevent
it. So far, diplomatically. If not, we’ll provide all-round support,”
Bagapsh added.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress

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