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Statement From The Press-Service For The Ministry For Foreign Affairs of The Republic of Abkhazia

SUKHUM, ABKHAZIA

A regular pentalateral meeting devoted to the mechanism of incident prevention and response attended by the representatives of the Abkhaz, Georgian, Russian parties, the EU and the United Nations took place on September 8.

The main question raised by the Abkhaz party during the meeting concerned tension escalation in the Black sea in connection with seizure of vessels bounding for Abkhazia by the Georgian coast guards in neutral waters.

A regular pentalateral meeting devoted to the mechanism of incident prevention and response attended by the representatives of the Abkhaz, Georgian, Russian parties, the EU and the United Nations took place on September 8.

The main question raised by the Abkhaz party during the meeting concerned tension escalation in the Black sea in connection with seizure of vessels bounding for Abkhazia by the Georgian coast guards in neutral waters.

The Abkhaz party stated such actions were not law competent, especially considering there were exclusively peaceful cargoes on board the seized ships. Speaking about illegality of such actions, the Abkhaz party pointed, in particular, to Georgia’s violation of the international law fixed in the 1958 Geneva Convention and the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea according to which the Georgian authorities’ actions are classified only as piracy. The Abkhaz party called the meeting moderators to pay attention to the threat of a new aggression from the part of Georgia leading to situation destabilization in the region. The Georgian party justifies its actions by the national legislation which, allegedly, says that the Georgian authorities can pursue and seize vessels even in neutral waters if it threatens Georgia’s national interests thus, indirectly, confirmed the fact of Georgia’s violation of the international law and again revealed Georgia’s position that it will use in future methods of piracy if these actions contradict the norms of the international law.

However the head of the EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia Mr. Haber confirmed inadmissibility of tension escalation in the Black sea and stated the use of force must be stopped at any cost. However the Abkhaz party representative Ruslan Kishmariya said if Georgia continues with the embargo and prevents peaceful ships from entering Abkhazia’s ports, the Abkhaz party reserves to itself the right to destroy the military ships of the Georgian coast guards.

The Georgia’s representatives raised and put on the agenda the following items: the item of access restriction for the Gal district schoolchildren to the schools in Zugdidi and Tsalendzhikha, increase of the Russian helicopters flights over the Georgian police posts, as well as the incident taken place on August 28, 2009 when, according to the Georgia’s representatives, the Georgian passage point was fired upon in the direction from Otobai.

The Russian side representatives said in connection with the establishment of the corresponding procedures on the Georgian-Abkhaz border, explanatory work with the Gal district residents with a view to avoid incidents with trespassing is in progress. Ruslan Kishmariya mentioned there are enough schools in the Gal district and if there are those who wish to study in Georgia they “may go there and no privileges will be done for anybody”. It was decided explanatory work is necessary and the parties will return to this item discussion at the following meeting, especially, as Mr. Haber said, the academic year in Georgia begins on September 14 and it is necessary to monitor at the local level.

As to the Georgian party’s statement regarding fire upon the Georgian passage point, Kishmariya said it could not be fired upon from the territory of Abkhazia since the passage point is to 1 km from the border and the reason was a conflict with a gangster group.

Discussing the item of “increase of the Russian helicopters flights over the Georgian police posts”, the Russian side representative said there is no exact data on this question and drew attention to increase of the Georgian drones flights over the territory of Abkhazia. To what the Georgian side representatives said the drones do not belong to Georgia and “the Abkhaz party can bring them down”.

The Abkhaz party put forward a proposal to hand over to David Sigua's family the results of the independent investigation conducted by the UN Mission. It was decided if the parties involved in the investigation do not object the Sigua’s case will be handed over to the family.

The following pentalateral meeting is set for September 22, 2009 which, as the parties agreed, will be also held in Gal.

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