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Leonid Lakerbaya: It is not trust between Abkhazians and Georgians that needs to be strengthened but that between Abkhazia and the EU

SUKHUM -- Prime Minister Leonid Lakerbaya received a delegation from the European Union Special Representative for the South Caucasus Philippe Lefort.

The meeting was also attended by political advisers Magdalena Frichova Groen, Kevin Tait, Joseph Buzalka, Steen Rayala, official for links with the police.

Welcoming the delegation of the European Union, the Prime Minister stressed the importance of dialogue between the parties, even despite the diametrically opposed positions of the EU and Abkhazia.

"It is better to talk than not communicate at all. Since they do not want to see us in Europe, nevertheless here we shall talk. To what extent our dialogue will be successful and our voice is heard, this is another matter already," said Lakerbaya.

He drew attention of the EU Special Representative to certain positive changes in the republic.

The next meeting took place without the presence of journalists.

At its completion, Philip Lefort told reporters that he had visited Abkhazia, not only as the EU Special Representative for the South Caucasus but also as co-chairman of the Geneva talks.

"We spoke not only about the dynamics of the Geneva talks but also about how it is possible to implement some EU programmes in the region. We had a very friendly and open discussion, despite the substantial difference in the approaches of Abkhazia and the EU," said Philippe Lefort.

"The conversation was more than frank, despite the difference in our approaches to key issues of the conflict. This is the reality, which is founded on EU’s relationship with Abkhazia," Lakerbaya stressed to reporters after the meeting with the EU delegation. He clarified that at the meeting several issues were discussed relating to the Geneva format, to initiatives proposed by the European Union, and to the strengthening of confidence-building measures.

In L. Lakerbaya’s opinion, it is necessary to strengthen confidence not between Abkhazians and Georgians but between Abkhazia and the EU.

The Prime Minister stressed that the Abkhazia will continue to defend its position as an independent state and to achieve relations with European structures on the basis of equal rights.

Source: Apsny Press

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