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SUKHUM, October 22. /TASS/. Russia is Abkhazia’s only strategic partner, Abkhazian President Raul Khadzhimba said on Tuesday.
“Russia is our only strategic ally, and we are interested in joint efforts to ensure our common interests,” he said at a meeting with members of the coordination council comprising 13 Abkhazian political parties and public organizations. He expressed confidence that “a document in the interests of both sides can be elaborated in an atmosphere of mutual trust typical of the Russian-Abkhazian relations.”
He stressed the importance of new approaches to cooperation between the two countries. At the same time, the Abkhazian leader admitted that his vision of such cooperation differed from that of Russia. “This is a normal working situation,” the press service of the Abkhazian president quoted him as saying. “We plan to work in close cooperation with the parliament, expert community and various public organizations to word our own version of the treaty to be presented at talks with our Russian partners.”
Earlier on Tuesday, Khadzhimba met with members of the republic’s Public Chamber to discuss a draft new Russia-Abkhazia treaty. Participants noted that the treaty should comply with the Abkhazian constitution and the president pledged to keep to it while drafting Abkhazia’s edition of the treaty. However, both the Abkhazian president and members of the Public Chamber agreed that it was necessary to further strengthen cooperation with Russia, especially in the area of defence and security.
Khadzhumba promised the draft would be discussed by the executive and legislative branches and after that submitted for public discussion.
On October 13, the Abkhazian president referred Russia’s draft of the interstate treaty to the national parliament. The document was published to make it available for general public. On October 17, a working group was set up in the parliament to work out a new draft treaty.