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Sokhumi hosts Jordanian businessmen, Abkhaz media reports

By Mzia Kupunia
Wednesday, January 13
A group of businessmen from Jordan is visiting the de facto Abkhazian republic, information agency Apsnypress has reported. The businessmen met the de facto President and Foreign Minister in Sokhumi on January 11, according to the Abkhazian news agency.

Abkhazia is ready to discuss developing economic and cultural cooperation with Jordan, de facto President Sergey Bagapsh said at the meeting. “We are ready to discuss your proposals and share our views about mutually beneficial cooperation,” Apsnypress quoted Bagapsh as saying.

Abkhazia is interested in establishing economic, cultural and sporting cooperation with Jordan, the de facto Abkhazian Foreign Minister Sergey Shamba said. “A certain number of influential Abkhazian Diaspora members live in Jordan and we are hoping to develop contacts with them. We understand that there is a lot work ahead to convince the Jordan authorities to cooperate with Abkhazia,” Shamba said. He suggested creating special centres for cultural and economic cooperation in the de facto republic and Jordan.

The Jordanian businessmen said they have “big plans” for developing cooperation in different fields, Apsnypress reported. The businessmen suggested that problems in crossing the “Abkhazian-Russian border” should be resolved and the airport should resume functioning, “as many people in Jordan, mainly the Abkhazian Diaspora, want to visit Abkhazia,” according to Apsnypress. Shamba agreed and told the Jordan businessmen that “a lot is being done in this respect together with the Russian Federation. Opening Sokhumi Airport is likely to happen in the near future,” he said.

Members of the Jordanian delegation promised the de facto Foreign Minister that they would tell the Jordanian authorities about their meetings in Abkhazia and “do their best to establish contacts not only with the business but also the political circles of Jordan,” according to Apsnypress. They told Shamba that a special promotional company has been established in Jordan to attract investors to the de facto republic.

Georgian officials have cast doubts about the reliability of the information spread by the Abkhazian media. Head of the Temporary Parliamentary Commission on Territorial Integrity Issues Shota Malashkhia said that it is common for the de facto Abkhazian authorities to release information about Iranian and Turkish businessmen visiting the breakaway region which turns out to be false.

“Recently Abkhazian media outlets have spread information that Palestine was planning to recognise Abkhazia as an independent state. These reports quoted a Palestinian newspaper as their source. We searched for this newspaper and discovered it is not published or distributed in Palestine and nothing like that was written in it,” Malashkhia said.

The MP said that there are laws against foreign countries conducting business activities in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. “The Law on the Occupied Territories bans such economic activities there [without our permission] and international legislation also prohibits this,” Malashkhia told The Messenger.