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“The rapprochement with Russia is a major, crucial factor for us,” Khadzhimba said. He believes that his country should have a relationship with Russia that would give it a chance to steer clear of problem situations.”
“Some rather complicated processes are underway around us, and Russia is precisely the country that recognizes us and actively supports us. We shall go ahead with building up these relations in such fields as defence, security and the economy,” he said.
As he dwelt on the subject of a new treaty with Moscow, Khadzhimba dismissed the rumors Abkhazia was very close to joining Russia.
“It is the other way round. Russia will be working to strengthen our sovereignty and achieve its international recognition. This will be reflected in our new treaty,” he said.
Alongside Khadzhimba, who according to the final returns published by Abkhazia’s Central Election Commission, collected 50.6% of the votes, there were three other candidates contesting the post of the head of state - Security Service chief Aslan Bzhania, acting Defence Minister Mirab Kishmaria and former Interior Minister Leonid Dzapshba. Earlier, all of them put their signatures to an agreement on reforming Abkhazia’s political system. According to this document “the executive branch of power after the presidential election will be formed on the basis of a coalition involving professionals from various political parties and supporters for presidential candidates.”
About the details of a future agreement with Russia Bzhania said there were plans for creating “collective armed forces capable of countering external threats” and also bringing Abkhazia’s social standards up to the Russian level.
“We are to create conditions to ensure the social package that is available to the citizens of the Russian Federation should be available to the Abkhazian citizens, too,” he said.Dzapshba described Russia as a strategic ally and partner.
Kishmaria suggested putting the emphasis on advancing cooperation with Russia’s law enforcement agencies.
“We have discussed that issue here and in Moscow. This matches perfectly the current international situation requirements. Abkhazia’s military, law enforcers and security agencies should maintain closer contact. Possibly, a collective defense force should be created. The people must realize that we are united and the world must see that Abkhazia is not alone,” he said.