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Baghapsh refuses to let international monitors into Abkhazia

By Mzia Kupunia
Friday, April 30
Abkhazia's de facto President Sergey Baghapsh has said that his “administration” will not allow any international observers onto the territory of the republic. “There is no need for this,” Baghapsh told journalists on Thursday, according to RIA Novosti. “We are not going to let any international observers in, either from the EU or the UN, or military observers."

"Monitors should be deployed in the place where the threat of military conflict is coming from,” the de facto President said. “The past 20 years have shown that this territory is Georgia,” he added.

Baghapsh noted that the Abkhazian “Government” is ready to hold negotiations with any interested states. “We are not avoiding dialogue,” the de facto President said.

In its conclusion on the terms of a common Security and Defence Policy the European Council had called for an extension of the EU Monitoring Mission to Georgia’s breakaway regions. “While expressing its continued commitment to Georgia’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity and the principle of non-use of force the Council reiterated its support for the full implementation of the EUMM’s countrywide mandate, including access to the de facto entities,” the document reads

“While acknowledging that progress on confidence building has taken place the Council called on all actors on the ground to pursue their efforts at confidence building, including as regards IDP return,” the conclusion says. “The Council also noted the Georgian Government’s new strategy for engagement with the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia and called on all parties to seek opportunities to improve the lives and free movement of people on both sides of the Administrative Boundary Line. Ensuring free movement across the ABL is a key,” it continues.

The Council welcomed the “continued efforts” of the EUMM to implement its mandate: “The EUMM has made, and continues to make, significant contributions in the areas of stabilisation and normalisation of the situation in Georgia, first of all through its monitoring activities and by promoting communication between the parties via the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanisms.” The European Council reiterated its call on all sides to fully implement the Six-Point Agreement, participate constructively in the Geneva talks and increase efforts to mitigate the consequences of the conflict for the local population.

The Georgian Foreign Ministry responded to the European Council’s document with a special statement on April 27. The Foreign Ministry welcomed the Council’s “sustainable support” for the principles of Georgia’s independence, territorial integrity and sovereignty.