PITSUNDA, August 8. /TASS/. Abkhazian President Raul Khadzhimba said on Tuesday that Russia furnishes substantial financial assistance to the republic, giving it a possibility to implement major infrastructure projects and develop the economy.
This year, financing within the framework of the investment program will exceed 2.3 billion roubles ($41.832 million), Raul Khadzhimba said after talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The Abkhazian president said "programs are implemented in the sphere of small and medium-sized business with the use of credit resources of Russian banks". "The investment authority has provided 1.2 billion rubles for these aims," he added.
"Thanks to this program, manufacturing facilities are developing in Abkhazia, first of all in the agricultural sector, which allows hope that our own economy will be developing in the coming years," the president said.
Abkhazia’s trade with Russia has increased by 3.5 times since 2008, Khadzhimba said.
"After recognition of Abkhazia’s independence in 2008, trade between Abkhazia and Russia has increased by 3.5 times, from seven billion rubles ($116.13 million) to 24.5 billion rubles ($409.95 million). Imports have gone up from 6.2 billion rubles ($103.74 million) to 19.1 billion rubles ($319.6 million), and exports have jumped from 0.9 billion rubles ($15.05 million) to 5.5 billion rubles ($92.03 million)," he said, adding that at today’s talks they had noted "positive dynamics of the implementation of the provisions of the Abkhazian-Russian Treaty on Allied Relations and Strategic Partnership."
"Thus, ahead of this meeting, the Abkhazian side ratified the agreement on the procedure of the establishment and operation of the joint information and coordination center of the two countries’ interior ministries. We hope the new agency will be a serious and efficient instrument in the sphere of combating crime, improvement of the crime situation in the country," Khadzhimba stressed.
According to the Abkhazian leader, the two countries continue efforts to establish a common defense and security perimeter. "For these ends, it is planned to form a united group of the Abkhazian and Russian armed forces that will be regulated by a separate agreement," he added.
Khadzhimba hailed the Tuesday talks as traditionally friendly and constructive, saying they were extremely useful from the point of view of common interests of Abkhazia and Russia. "Our meetings are regular, which proves a privileged nature of Russia-Abkhazia relations, strong ties of alliance and strategic partnership," Khadzhimba said.
"We discussed all most important issues on the bilateral agenda, first of all issues of social and economic development of Abkhazia," the republic’s leader added.
Abkhazia, a province situated on the north-western Black Sea coast, sought independence from Georgia since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Deterioration of relations between Georgia and Abkhazia reached its peak in the 1990s and led to armed clashes that left about 20,000 people killed.
In 1994, Abkhazia adopted its own constitution and declared independence from Georgia. A referendum in 1999 supported the republic’s statehood, but it was never accepted by the international community.
In early August 2008, when Georgia attacked South Ossetia, Abkhazia backed Russia’s operation to coerce Georgia into peace and asked Moscow to recognize its sovereignty. After the 2008 conflict Moscow declared that it would formally recognize the independence of both South Ossetia and Abkhazia.