SUKHUM -- A press conference took place at the Abkhaz Foreign Ministry to mark the birthday of the country’s main foreign affairs agency. The Republic of Abkhazia Foreign Ministry was created on May 17, 1993, during the Georgian-Abkhaz war. "The establishment of the Ministry was a symbolic act informing the world of the birth of the new Abkhaz state," said Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Chirikba.
In the minister’s words, today the Foreign Ministry is spoken of with respect, and this is largely the achievement of the collective and the leaders who headed the foreign ministry previously.
"The completion of the reorganization of the Foreign Ministry coincided with its birthday, and this prompted us to organize a press conference, talk about ourselves, and respond to journalists’questions," said V. Chirikba.
The structural reorganization of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is connected with the new challenges and tasks Abkhazia faces in the field of foreign policy, the Minister noted.
Four new regional departments have been opened within the ministry and a chancellery and a section for international law have been created.
The minister stressed that the two main tasks facing the agency he heads are diplomatic and informational.
A new Abkhaz Foreign Ministry website has been created in four languages. Work is going on on a site devoted to the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict. "This is very important, insofar as the conflict has not yet been resolved, and we did not have such an important information resource as a website devoted to the problems of Georgian-Abkhaz relations," the Minister said.
And this site will be in four languages. It will incorporate materials on the history of the conflict, the fighting, and post-war conflict resolutions. All the official documents relating to Georgian-Abkhaz negotiations, all the reports of the UN, the OSCE, and the EU concerning the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict, the materials from the various stages of the Geneva talks and the Geneva discussions on security in the Caucasus, experts, assessments opinions and much more besides will be posted on the site.
It is planned to create a series of partner sites in different languages, taking into account the demand for information in those countries for which they are intended.
V. Chirikba emphasized the marked improvement in the informational work of the Foreign Ministry and its timely response to various developments.
As for diplomatic work, the minister noted in this context participation in the Geneva process. "There is progress and disappointing moments, but we participate in the Geneva discussions, using this platform to convey the point of view of the Abkhaz side to the world community. The next round of Geneva talks is scheduled for 7-8 July," Chirikba said.
He singled out for special mention the recent visit to Moscow and meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and the signing of the "Plan of Consultations between the Foreign Ministry and the Foreign Minister for the years 2012 - 2013."
An Abkhaz Foreign Ministry delegation recently visited Italy and San Marino. "25 out of 60 members of the supreme legislative body of San Marino issued a statement about the need to recognize Abkhazia," the Minister said.
A Republic of Abkhazia Ambassador to Nicaragua has been appointed. He is Zurab Gvadzhava, who is also ambassador to Venezuela.
Preparations are underway for a visit by a Republic of Abkhazia delegation to Latin America.
Chirikba drew attention to the ambiguous approach to Abkhazia by the EU countries.
"The activity of the Foreign Ministry is becoming more complex and responsible. Today we are the Foreign Ministry of an independent, recognized state. We are engaged in improving the quality of diplomatic, organizational and legal work. The staff of Abkhazia's Foreign Ministry are professionals. Cooperation has been established with international non-governmental organizations and specialized UN agencies. This is one of the achievements of the Foreign Ministry that coordinates their activities on the territory of Abkhazia, " said Deputy Foreign Minister Irakli Khintba.
He stressed that the Foreign Ministry is guided by the Abkhaz president’s position that the primary criteria for assessing the activities of international humanitarian organizations in Abkhazia should be concrete tangible results and not statements of intent.
He also noted the increased activity of the Republic of Abkhazia diplomatic missions in other countries, and the coordination of the activities of the Abkhaz Foreign Ministry with other ministries and agencies, the power structures, the parliament, and society at large.
Effective cooperation has been established with the news agency "ApsnyPress," with Abkhaz State TV and Radio, [independent] Abaza-TV and other media.
The Ministry pays great attention to training personnel. This question is on the agenda."Russia is helping us to solve it. We have announced an open competition for five places at MGIMO [the prestigious Moscow State Institute for International Relations] that Russia has allocated to Abkhazia. We promise that the best prepared high school graduates will be selected for those places," I. Khintba said.
Deputy Foreign Minister Oleg Arshba supervises the legal activities of the Foreign Ministry and coordination with law enforcement agencies.
The following officials spoke briefly about the main tasks of the Ministry’s sub-sections: Irakli Tuzhba, who heads the department for the Russian Federation, the Republic of South Ossetia, the CIS countries, the PMR, and Georgia; Middle East and Turkey Department head Inar Gitsba; Latin America, Asia, Africa and Asia-Pacific region Department head Adgur Chegiya; Europe, the US and Canada Department head Aslan Lakvitava; Information Department Head Arthur Gagulia; International Law department head Alexander Achba; State protocol head Irina Turava; Consular Service head Martin Tarkil; Translation department head Samantha Aiba; and chancellery head Madina Avidzba.