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Russia’s move to ‘annex’ Abkhazia requires strong response from Tbilisi

By Messenger Staff
Thursday, October 16
Russia is going to sign a treaty with de-facto Abkhazia. This move is essentially the direct annexation of Georgian territory by a third party state. Georgia’s opposition parties claim that the government must swiftly react to this negative news and even cancel the upcoming meeting between the countries’ special envoys. The opposition states that negotiations with Russia on certain topics are useless, as Russia refuses to suspend their occupation of Georgian territory.

The new document drafted by the Kremlin foresees the creation of a combined group of forces for the purpose of repelling aggression, and joint measures for border protection. The draft agreement has a collective defense clause, according to which, an attack against on one shall be considered an attack against the others. Countries should then provide the necessary assistance, including military, to each other in the case of such an attack. Moscow intends to finance a range of activities in Abkhazia that will support the region’s socioeconomic, healthcare and cultural fields.

Following the draft that was released by Apsnipress on October 13, the Russian daily, Vedomosti, reads that Moscow thinks most of the clauses of the proposed draft will not cause a negative reaction in Sokhumi, as it “broadens and compliments” the existing comprehensive agreement on cooperation with Abkhazia, and does not infringe upon Abkhazia’s sovereignty or independence.

Within a year after the draft confirmation, Moscow and Sokhumi have to create a Combined Group of Forces of the Russian and Abkhaz Armed Forces with its joint command, as well as joint defense infrastructure.

Russia will appoint a commander of the Combined Group of Forces in the time of war or when there is an immediate threat of aggression.

Through the draft, Abkhazia will have to tailor its legislation to the demands of the Russian established Eurasian Union as well.

In the foreign policy direction, Russia claims to have taken efforts in broadening the international recognition of Abkhazia and creating the preconditions for Abkhazia to become a member of international organizations.

Stating that the document will have no legal power and that it might be opposed within the region are pointless. The Georgian government should react on the blatant annexation intentions of Russia. Head of parliament’s Foreign Relations Committee Tedo Japaridze appealed to the government to put forth a tough response over the issue. As an example, he mentioned the cancelling of Abashidze and Karasin’s meeting, now underway. Commenting on the appeal, Georgia’s Special Envoy to Russia Zurab Abashidze reveals that the government might continue its “restricted dialogue” with Russia. However, owing to the Russian annexation policy, the outcome of the dialogues will raise question marks for many.