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Abkhazia: unsealing the sky2010-06-02 16:21
Viktor Kachalkin, commander of Russia's military transport aviation reported this week that the Russian side is ready to resume air communication with Abkhazia. In reply, Georgia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs will attempt to undertake legal measures at the international level "to prevent the infringement of Georgia's sovereignty". Disputes over the sky of Abkhazia between Tbilisi and Moscow continue.
According to Viktor Kachalkin, Russia's military and transport aviation is ready to fulfill tasks it will be tasked with. "As early as in August 2008 we started this kind of transportation. We made several flights carrying personnel, arms and equipment", - he reported.
Georgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs reacted in a predictable manner. Initiation of direct air communication between Moscow and Sukhum was called a violation of international law in Tbilisi. The Ministry warns of Georgia's readiness to "undertake international legal action in order to prevent the infringement of Georgia's sovereignty". "Any air flight without consent of the Georgian authorities grossly violates the Agreement on International Air Traffic" - the Georgian diplomats remark.
Tbilisi and Moscow have been arguing over Abkhazian sky since January. To be more exact, this is the Georgian side that is disputing. Russia is enhancing cooperation with Abkhazia making up all necessary documents based on the treaty on friendship, cooperation and mutual assistance that was signed after the 5-day war.
In winter 2010 Russia and Abkhazia agreed to restart air communication. According to the document the countries shall ensure required conditions for flights of aircrafts of the other state and provide air navigation, maintenance and airport services.
Transport sphere is among priorities in Russian-Abkhaz cooperation. Before signing the agreement Russia's ambassador to Abkhazia Semen Grigoryev remarked that accelerated development of railway infrastructure, expansion and update of port capacities as well as resumption of Sukhum airport operation will help to optimize cargo and passenger flows reorienting them from motor transport, now dominating, to railway, marine and air transport.
By tradition the agreement between Moscow and Sukhum was condemned in Tbilisi stating that Russian-Abkhaz air communication is legally groundless and comes in violation of almost all norms of Chicago convention. The Georgian side reserves the right to file a complaint against the big neighbor to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).