SUKHUM / AQW'A ― Inal Ardzinba, the Minister of Foreign Affairs for the Republic of Abkhazia, recently announced a shift in the nation's approach towards interactions with international non-governmental organisations and UN agencies.
Ardzinba has cited the necessity for these adjustments as a response to what he describes as "opaque activities and attempts at disinformation" by the Abkhazian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In a surprising move, he has also declared John Pennell, the head of the USAID mission in the South Caucasus, persona non grata in Abkhazia.
Within the Abkhazian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, it's claimed that these "ambiguous goals and objectives" are primarily aimed at promoting Georgia's policies within Abkhazia. The official USAID strategy, which labels Abkhazia as an "occupied territory of Georgia," directing all efforts towards "restoring territorial integrity," is also referenced.
However, Arda Inal-ipa, director of the Abkhazian Centre for Humanitarian Programmes, argues that Ardzinba's actions deviate from his diplomatic mandate. She asserts that he is undermining the accomplishments of his predecessors and jeopardising Abkhazia's relations with international organisations.
"Mr Ardzinba's decisions are no longer surprising – his aim isn't to work with international bodies or secure funding for pressing issues in Abkhazia. Instead, he's severing ties, alienating partners, and isolating Abkhazia from the global community. In reality, he's not fulfilling his diplomatic duties, but obstructing the complex, innovative relationships established with international organisations," states Inal-ipa.
"In Georgia, our minister's actions are viewed favourably, as they align with their agenda of impeding international organisations in Abkhazia. His decisions, perhaps unknowingly, support Georgia's efforts, further isolating Abkhazia and posing challenges to expanding our international contacts, crucial for our independence," she added.