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Breakaway regions uncomfortable over association agreement

By Tea Mariamidze
Monday, June 30
The Abkhaz presidential candidate and the leader of the opposition of occupied Abkhazia, Raul Khajimba, made a statement about Georgia signing the association agreement (AA) with the European Union. According to him, the signing of the AA will not have an impact on the political situation in Abkhazia, though he feels the borders should be strengthened as well as integration with Russia should be increased.

“Georgia's European integration does not affect the internal political situation in Abkhazia, because public opinion is oriented to relations and cooperation with Russia,” Khajimba stated, but he called on the government to control the country’s borders with Georgia and strengthen its defense capabilities. “It is possible only with the integration of Russia’s security system,” he added.

Khajimba also predicted that NATO member countries will help Georgia, including with military assistance, in the implementation of aggressive plans.

The idea of integration with Russia is actively discussed in South Ossetia too. A referendum is planned over the issue. The Georgian government thinks that this fact is connected with Georgia’s decision to sign the AA.

According to the state minister of Reconciliation and Civil Equality Issues, Paata Zakareishvili, any response should be made in case of a fact and not certain previous statements. He stressed that the Georgian side is studying the situation concerning the breakaway regions.

Meanwhile South Ossetia's new parliament is going to vote for integration with Russia, said Anatoli Bibilov, a spokesman for the breakaway region’s government.

The ex-president of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili also commented about the issues in Georgia’s breakaway territories in his interview with the BBC.

Saakashvili compared Russia to a gas station and said that Russia wants to maintain polarization and Europe does not want to have an open confrontation.

“The idea that Russia plans to hold a referendum on the accession of South Ossetia with Russia is outrageous. Currently, this is an area with maybe 10 or 15 thousand people. Holding a referendum where 10 or 15 thousand people live is a very bad joke, but it is a very aggressive fact,” emphasized the former leader.

Saakashvili also expressed his concern about the situation in Abkhazia. “Certain manipulations are being carried out in Abkhazia, which are very similar to the situation which took place in Crimea,” he said.

According to Saakashvili only Europe can stop Russia, and now it is in their hands. “Of course they do not want to lose their profit and income, but there is no other way. The politicians should take real steps," he said.