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Abkhazian minister: no progress on reaching non-use of force agreement with Georgia

The Georgian side is creating great problems during negotiations, abkhazian foreign minister said
Abkhazia’s Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Chirikba TASS/Anton Novoderezhkin
Abkhazia’s Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Chirikba
© TASS/Anton Novoderezhkin

SUKHUM, December 24 /TASS/. There has been no progress in reaching a non-use of force agreement with Georgia, Abkhazian Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Chirikba told a briefing on Wednesday after a regular round of the Geneva consultations.

"The main topic of the Geneva discussions was how to reach an agreement on the non-use of force with (Georgia). There is no progress here, and no breakthroughs are expected. We discussed an interim document - a declaration on commitment not to use force, and the Georgian side is creating great problems. Unfortunately, they are hard partners to talk with," Chirikba said.

The latest round of Geneva consultations took place on December 8-9.

Georgian Refugees

The Abkhazian side does not want to discuss the return of Georgian refugees to Abkhazia, Irakly Tuzhba, a spokesperson for the Abkhazian Foreign Ministry, said.

"The Georgian side tried to raise questions related to the education of Georgian children in the border Gali district of Abkhazia during several rounds of consultations. The Georgian side accused the Abkhazian authorities of forbidding Georgian children to learn the Georgian language. We gave an opportunity to the co-chairmen of the Geneva discussions to visit (the Gali) district when they met the Georgian schoolchildren and their parents and talked to the teachers. They concluded that the situation was not as serious as the Georgian side was painting it. That is why we are not planning to discuss education in the Gali district in future," Tuzhba said.

On September 1, 2015, 11 Georgian schools in the Gali district of Abkhazia were transferred to the curriculum of the Abkhazian Ministry of Education. The primary school instruction is in Russian. Instruction in senior classes is in Georgian, except for history and geography, which are taught according to prograrmms introduced by the Ministry of Education of Abkhazia.

Humanitarian problems

Abkhazian Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Chirikba noted progress on humanitarian problems. A search for persons who went missing during the Georgian-Abkhazian war has produced some positive results. The International Committee of the Red Cross has helped identifying the remains of both Abkhazian and Georgian servicemen.

The question of return of Abkhazia’s cultural heritage, the preservation of Christian churches - the landmarks of Abkhazian architecture; and environmental problems linked to the protection of of boxwood forests from insects were also part of agenda.

International barriers for the people of Abkhazia and South Ossetia

The citizens of Abkhazia and South Ossetia are still facing problems in entering European countries.

"At the recent round of consultations, the Abkhazian delegation submitted a draft document on removing barriers to international communication: the EU discriminatory policy and the recognition of documents such as certificates of education, birth and marriage certificates, etc. We have been raising this problem for the past 2 years. There is understanding but no solution is in sight," the Abkhazian foreign minister said.

"There are pragmatic approaches to any situations but this is not the case with Abkhazia or South Ossetia," Chirikba went on to say.

The Abkhazian delegation gave plenty of examples how athletes and children from Abkhazia had been denied entry to Europe to attend sport and cultural events.

"Our young people have limited opportunities to get educated while the sick have a limited opportunity to receive medical treatment. We have not got any sensible response why our citizens are barred to enter the EU states. The answer is always the same: it is the case of every separate country to allow or ban entrance to a person and that it is not a pan-European practice at all," Irakly Tuzhba, the Abkhazian Foreign Ministry spokesperson, said.