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Abkhaz President Responds to Obama Administration Occupation Claim

During this week’s visit to Tbilisi,  U.S. Secretary of State Clinton perpetuated a self-evident falsehood about my country to justify the Obama Administration’s failed policies in the Caucasus.  To set the record straight, the Russian Federation is not occupying our country. To maintain otherwise is, frankly, nonsense.

The term ‘occupation’ is defined as a military government exercising control over a nation or territory.  Decisions about what Abkhazia does are made by our elected civilian government in Sukhum, not by military officers here or in Moscow. There are no Russian soldiers patrolling our streets. Under formal agreement, and at our invitation, 1,200 of them guard our borders from reckless Georgian military action of which there is ample evidence. Abkhazia is no more occupied by Russia than South Korea and Germany are occupied by the United States. 

Secretary Clinton and other U.S. officials and policymakers have a standing invitation to visit Abkhazia.  So far, they have refused to join the hundreds of western journalists and foreign policy experts who have come here to witness our progress.  If Secretary Clinton had accepted our hospitality, she would have seen that Abkhazia—far from being an occupied state—is focused on building a market economy and an independent governing infrastructure, secure from attack from our neighbors.

When will America’s policymakers learn from the past that acquiescence to Georgian contrivances is dangerous for everybody in this region?

Sergei Bagapsh
President
Republic of Abkhazia
5 July 2010

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