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Abkhazia in no hurry to unlock border2010-01-22 14:04
Gal town (Abkhazia) hosted another meeting on prevention and investigation of incidents on Georgian-Abkhaz border between representatives of Georgia, Abkhazia, Russia, the UN and EU. Facilitation of border crossing was discussed by the sides. Tbilisi suggested resumption of free bus service across Inguri bridge between checkpoints of two countries though Sukhum considers this step simply impossible at this stage.
The Georgian side has long been pressing for resumption of bus service between Abkhazia and Georgia but it is believed in Sukhum that the current situation offers no preconditions for a step like this since the border is closed. "When relations between Abkhazia and Georgia are defined at a state level we will be able to discuss all questions with them". - Abkhaz FM Sergey Shamba is quoted by ITAR-TASS. - Future relations with Tbilisi can only be discussed when Georgia is ready for a constructive dialogue". According to the diplomat Tbilisi's references to Abkhazia as "an occupied territory" and projects for its deoccupation now under preparation show impossibility of any serious talk with the current leaders of this country. Shota Utiashvili in charge of
Interior Ministry's information and analytical department stated that starting from March movement across Georgian-Abkhaz border would nevertheless be simplified.
In Gal Abkhazia and Georgia discussed the incident with the BUKET vessel seized by Georgian border guards. Sukhum has been suffering a deficit of fuel and lubricants since early autumn and claims both the cargo and the vessel back. According to Abkhaz diplomats they are not going to take the issue off the agenda until it is finally resolved.
UN Envoy Marco Biancini chairing the meeting remarked that the current meeting had been very constructive adding that five-lateral meetings on incident prevention and response mechanism allow the interested parties to discuss crucial issues arousing general concern in South Caucasus. "I believe we have laid a solid foundation for future collaboration", - he stated.
The first gathering of representatives from Georgia, Abkhazia, Russia, the UN and EU took place in Gal last July with the parties discussing technical issues and agreeing to meet once a fortnight. These meetings had been needed for a long time. From January to July 2009 there were several car explosions, assaults on officials and power officers in the republic. The border was not quiet either: according to information from Sergi Kapanadze, head of Georgian Foreign Ministry's department for international organizations, incidents resulted in 19 human deaths and dozens of casualties.