On the eve of his visit to the RF, Abkhaz Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Chirikba talked to RIA Novosti’s special corrrespondent Andrei Malyshkin about who might recognize Abkhazia very soon, about the investigation into the attempt to assassinate President Aleksandr Ankvab, and about the Abkhaz caught up in the violence in Syria.
- During Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s last visit to Fiji it was reported that the Russian minister is trying to persuade that country’s leaders to recognize the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Is the Foreign Ministry of Abkhazia conducting talks with the island state on that issue?
We are naturally interested in the broadest posible diplomatic recognition of the Republic of Abkhazia, and we are grateful to Russia for its assistance in this matter, which is of paramount importance to us. You know that three countries of the region – Nauru, Tuvalu and Vanuatu – have recognized Abkhazia’s independence and established diplomatic relations with it despite enormous pressure from the West. Just recently we had the honour of welcoming Tuvalu’s Prime Minister Willy Telavi in Abkhazia. And if the state of Fiji joins these three countries in this matter, we would only welcome that decision. I do not, however, have any information about any negotiations with the government of Fiji on this issue.
- Representatives of Abkhazia maintain active contacts with the countries of Latin America. Can we expect the recognition of Abkhazia by one of the countries of that region in the near future? If yes, then which country, given that this has been a topic of speculation for several years?
- Yes, such diplomatic efforts are underway, but taking into account the pressure and even threats from the US directed against those countries that intend to take such a diplomatic step in the direction of recognizing us, it is clear that the process will not be easy. The US and its closest allies have declared a veritable crusade against Abkhazia and South Ossetia emerging from international isolation and against their diplomatic recognition by various countries. Double standards clearly prevail in the West‘s position vis-a-vis the two young Caucasus states, especially against the background of their recognition of Kosovo’s independence. And the US, unfortunately, has numerous levers, especially economic ones. I am convinced all the same that in the 21st century, the century of globalization, it is impossible to isolate entire peoples, despite the efforts of some great powers. The process of recognition will continue.
- Do I understand you correctly as saying that in connection with pressure from the US one should not expect such countries as Cuba, Ecuador and Bolivia to recognize Abkhazia in the near future?
- It is difficult to make any firm predictions in this regard. But the fact remains that the states that have recognized Abkhazia experience strong political and economic pressure from the US and the European Union. This factor certainly makes the process of recognition more difficult, including with regard to the countries you mentioned.
- If it is not a secret, then with which countries of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (the ALBA bloc) are Abkhaz diplomats conducting talks?
- The negotiations are not public, but the outcome, if it is positive, will immediately be made public knowledge.
- Please could you shed some light on the situation with regard to the recognition of Abkhazia’s independence by the Pacific republic of Vanuatu? Have the Vanuatu authorities revoked their decision to recognize your country?
- The government of Vanuatu recognizes the Republic of Abkhazia. Ms. Te Moli Venaos Mol Saken Goiset has been appointed ambassador to Abkhazia.
- After the assassination attempt on the president of Abkhazia, Russia offered its help in investigating this crime and Russian FSB officers arrived in Sukhum. Aleksandr Ankvab himself said that the attackers may have arrived from abroad. How is the investigation proceeding, and is it possible to exclude „Georgian involvement“ in this crime?
The investigation is continuing. It is too early to speak of any „Georgian involvement.“
- There are some 10,000 Abkhaz living in Syria. Have the Abkhaz authorities received any formal statement from their co-ethnics saying they want to return to their historic homeland due to developments in Syria?
- We have already organized two missions to the Syrian Arab Republic to clarify the predicament of our co-ethnics in the crisis which has swept that country. Some 100 people have completed applications to be repatriated to their historic homeland, to Abkhazia. Their repatriation, in particular the question of obtaining Russian transit visas, is being coordinated between the Abkhaz Foreign Ministry and the Russian Embassy in Damascus. The first repatriants have already arrived and we are awaiting the arrival of the others who have expressed a desire to return.
- When will the demarcation of the frontier between Russia and Abkhazia be completed, including the contested territory near the village of Aigba?
- There is an inter-governmental commission for the demarcation of the land and sea border between Russia and Abkhazia that meets regularly and discusses without fuss, in an atmosphere of calm and mutual trust, all relevant issues, including the disputed ones connected with the border. I think we shall be able to reach decisions that will satisfy both sides.
This interview was published by RIA Novosti and is translated from Russian.