AP: Abkhazia appeals for world recognition
- Friday, Mar. 07, 2008
Abkhazia appeals for world recognition
By RUSLAN KHASHIG
SUKHUMI, Georgia The Russian-backed region of Abkhazia appealed to the
world community Friday to recognize it as independent from Georgia,
citing Kosovo as a precedent.
In a unanimous resolution, Abkhazia's legislature called on the world
community and the Russian Parliament to recognize it as an independent
"The republic of Abkhazia has for 15 years successfully existed as an
independent nation," the resolution said, citing Kosovo's independence
as justification for the timing.
The appeal follows a nearly identical resolution earlier this week by
another breakaway Georgian region, South Ossetia.
Both South Ossetia and Abkhazia have had de-facto independence since
wars with Georgian forces in the 1990s. No country recognizes their
governments, though Russia has tacitly supported their autonomy from
Georgia, which has infuriated Moscow by increasingly aligned itself with
Temur Yakobashvili, Georgia's state minister for reintegration matters,
said the Abkhazia resolution should not be taken seriously because many
ethnic Georgians fled Abkhazia during the fighting and have long sought
"This parliament is not legitimate; it was not elected by the population
of Abkhazia," he said. "It cannot reflect the will of the entire
Russia further raised tensions with Georgia on Thursday by fully
restoring economic ties with Abkhazia. Russian officials said the
decision had nothing to do with Kosovo, although Moscow was infuriated
by Western recognition of Kosovo's independence and warned that it could
fuel other separatist movements, particularly in the former Soviet Union.
Nations that recognize Kosovo's independence from Serbia say that
situation was unique. (*)
Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili condemned Moscow's full
restoration of trade with Abkhazia as a "grave provocation."
"Russia and its government will bear full responsibility for
militarization of Abkhazia," Saakashvili said in a televised statement
Georgia also summoned Russia's ambassador in protest.
In comments likely to further exacerbate the tensions between Russia and
Georgia, Russia's regional development minister, Dmitry Kozak, said
Russian businesses and investors building for the 2014 Winter Games in
Sochi can look to Abkhazia for workers and materials.
Abkhazia sits just a few miles from Sochi.
Associated Press writers Misha Dzhindzhikhashvili in Tbilisi, Georgia,
and Mansur Mirovalev in Moscow contributed to this report.
* I won't say that Kosova's independence is unique. It's just a very
late act of decolonization. Btw., as several Chechen politicians and
commentators already pointed out, Abkhazia is fundamentally different
from Kosova in the fact that its secession from Georgia would only
result in a pseudo-independent state (whatever they might call it). It
is already now under Russian de-facto occupation and a large part of the
population has been issued Russian passports, so the result of an
international recognition of this situation would mean a recognition of
Russia's reconquest of the territory. N.S.