Foreign Minister of Abkhazia, Inal Ardzinba, stated in a Public Council meeting that discussions are underway regarding the potential establishment of diplomatic relations between Abkhazia and Palestine. Tengiz Dzhopua, a public figure, shared his insights on this development with "Ekho Kavkaza."
― Tengiz, in discussing the establishment of diplomatic relations between Abkhazia and Palestine, are we referring to the State of Palestine with Mahmoud Abbas and Fatah or the Gaza Strip under the control of Palestinians and Hamas?
Tengiz Dzhopua: I firmly believe that we should not entertain any relations with Hamas. Hamas is a terrorist organisation that employs methods of terror, which are inherently unacceptable, regardless of their justification. I am referring to a unified Palestinian state — a concept that might materialise in the future — but not Hamas. Their actions do not represent the national liberation struggle of the Palestinian people; it is simply terrorism. Even if it were classified as guerrilla warfare, it would be beyond the pale due to the violence inflicted upon civilians, including abhorrent acts against innocent people and children. Such behaviour is indefensible. We cannot engage with entities that partake in terrorism. Should we then consider relations with the Taliban or ISIS next? The Middle East has no shortage of such groups. It would also tarnish our reputation as a sovereign state. We must not sway towards any radical extremes. The establishment of international relations requires a legal and civilised approach, which applies to both foreign and domestic policy. And I see nothing problematic about the desire to establish diplomatic relations with Palestine. Ideally, this should occur alongside active outreach to Israel and other nations, not just in the Middle East. I view any diplomatic initiative in this area positively.
The ongoing conflict is deeply tragic, with casualties on both sides. My sympathies extend to all affected. The dire circumstances faced by the Palestinian people since the 1940s are largely due to the failure of the Powers that created the State of Israel without properly delineating borders between Israelis and Arabs. This longstanding unresolved issue has caused countless deaths over several decades...
Furthermore, the use of excessive force against civilians to resolve military-political issues is condemnable and a form of terrorism itself.
When assessing the actions of both Hamas and the Israeli military leadership, both could be deemed terrorist because of their use of inexcusable tactics. Ultimately, it's the ordinary Palestinian and Israeli civilians who bear the brunt of the suffering, which is incredibly unfortunate. The international community should take a more proactive stance on this matter.
― Tengiz, let's revisit the topic of Abkhazia's aspiration to establish diplomatic relations with Palestine. What do you expect to achieve through this diplomacy and these relations?
― My sincere hope is that the world community will apply common sense to resolve this conflict. It's high time to establish an independent Palestinian state and define borders between Israel and that state because without this, the conflict could be endless. Subsequent to such a resolution, I believe the existence of diplomatic relations will prove to be beneficial.
I am of the opinion that Abkhazia's foreign policy should be as dynamic as it was in the post-war years when not only the Ministry of Foreign Affairs staff but the entire populace was engaged in advocating our stance, promoting the culture of Abkhazia, and sharing our perspectives and worldview. There was a period of passivity when we did nothing, waiting for the Russian Foreign Ministry to act on our behalf. That approach was a mistake. But now, seeing a resurgence of activity is encouraging. It doesn’t matter whether it's with states in the Middle East, Southeast Asia... The world isn't limited to Europe or Russia alone. It's much broader. With many rapidly developing states below the equator, countries like India, South Korea, and nations in Africa and South America, expanding our reach is only logical. And I ardently hope that peace will eventually come to Palestine, and following that, the establishment of a normal, civilised government that renounces terrorism will allow for productive engagement.
This interview was published by Ekho Kavkaza and is translated from Russian.