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Information from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Abkhazia

SUKHUM -- The Minister for Foreign Affairs Sergey Shamba received the co-chairman of the Geneva consultations from the United Nations Johan Verbeke. The results of today's meeting in Gal within the framework of the mechanism on incidents prevention in a zone of the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict were being discussed at the meeting.

Sergey Shamba mentioned the situation in the Gal district of Abkhazia stabilized. “The situation in the border district is controlled, despite numerous Georgia’ statements for worsening of the situation after the Russian border guards have been entered there”, the Minister said.

No serious criminal cases have been registered in the Gal district. “If they were, the Georgian party would not disregard them at the meeting”, Shamba said.

Johan Verbeke shared his impressions of the Gal meeting. The U.N. diplomat considers that “recently it is possible to speak about stability concerning Georgia and Abkhazia”.

Verbeke highlights these meetings promoting, in his opinion, stability in the region. “The number of registered incidents is decreasing, and during the meetings it became clear the registered so-called incidents were not so large-scaled”, Verbeke said.

However the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Abkhazia Sergey Shamba doesn’t share Johan Verbeke’s optimism regarding "stabilization" of relations between Georgia and Abkhazia.

The Abkhaz party has no doubt regarding continuation of Gal meetings as they have a positive result. “Nevertheless there is a discussion, there is a place for an exchange of opinions”, he added. At the same time the Minister for Foreign Affairs emphasized that “continuation of Georgia’s militarization cannot but worries Abkhazia.

“Georgia is arming intensively, drones keep on flying, the military contingent in the Western Georgia is increasing, redeployment of artillery subdivision from Gori to Vaziani is being carried out”, Shamba stressed.

The Minister reminded Johan Verbeke that the incident with seizure in neutral waters of the ship with cargo bound to Abkhazia is not settled till now. “This item hasn’t been removed from the agenda. We will consider the incident settled when the cargo and the ship are returned”, Shamba declared.

The Geneva process moderators should take into consideration that Georgia continues with the former policy of forcing the situation. “Georgia with its provocative actions at sea is forcing the situation”, the Minister believes.

Georgia’s actions made Abkhazia to ask Russia for help to promote security at sea. “Russian military ships patrol the Abkhaz water area, and in case of need their number will be increased”, the Minister said.

“Ceaseless militarization of Georgia doesn’t promote stability in the Caucasus. On the contrary, it can lead to new tensions”, Shamba considers.

The co-chairman of the Geneva consultations on security in the Caucasus, the Special Representative of the Secretary General of the United Nations Johan Verbeke visited Sukhum last time as the Special Representative. “It’s my last official visit to Sukhum. If I leave, it doesn’t mean that the United Nations leave, on the contrary the United Nations will continue working to draw the positions of the parties together”, Johan Verbeke declared.
The U.N. diplomat considers necessary to continue meetings within the framework of the mechanism on incidents prevention in a zone of the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict.

From July 14 till December 8, 2009 ten meetings have been held in the city of Gal. According to J. Verbeke, the atmosphere at these meetings was gradually changing, some kind of trust showed up between the participants.

“I’m convinced of dialogue development between the parties in the conflict as it gives the chance to discuss urgent problems openly”, Verbeke said.

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