Abkhazian Foreign Minister Inal Ardzinba has said that initiatives, including those by international organisations, that include meetings between Abkhazian and Georgian representatives on neutral territory will be banned, as they work ‘in the interest of Georgia’.
Ardzinba made the statement at an 8 April meeting between Abkhazian government officials and representatives of international organisations including the Red Cross, the UN agriculture agency, and World Vision, among others.
‘The tense international agenda forces us to work more carefully checking the motives of our partners, even if their activities are exclusively related to a humanitarian mission’, the Foreign Minister said.
‘On the territory of Abkhazia’, he added. ‘It is permissible to implement only humanitarian projects.’
Projects which include joint participation between Georgians and Abkhazians, he claimed, were a part of Georgia’s ‘engagement without recognition’ strategy, which specifically targets Abkhazian youth through joint cultural, athletic, and educational events.
Despite declaring a ban on such initiatives, Ardzinba also dismissed the possibility of them having an effect on Abkhazian youth.
‘Our youth knows history well and sees the damage to Abkhazia caused by the Georgian army’, he declared.
Ultimately, the Foreign Minister said, the ban is ‘necessary’ to prevent Georgia from establishing control over Abkhazia.
‘The Georgian flag will never fly here’, he concluded.
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For ease of reading, we choose not to use qualifiers such as ‘de facto’, ‘unrecognised’, or ‘partially recognised’ when discussing institutions or political positions within Abkhazia, Nagorno-Karabakh, and South Ossetia. This does not imply a position on their status.