Abkhaz leader Sergey Bagapsh has hinted that the Abkhaz side may not participate in the UN-led Georgian-Abkhaz talks in Geneva, Apsnipress news agency reported on February 6.
Georgian-Abkhaz negotiations are scheduled for February 12-13 under the aegis of the UN Secretary General's Group of Friends on Georgia, involving diplomats from Germany, France, Great Britain, Russia and the United States.
Apsnipress reported that Sergey Bagapsh, while meeting Deputy Special representative of the UN Secretary General Ivo Petrov on February 6 in Sokhumi, said that he has “doubts about the expediency” of the Abkhaz side’s participation in these talks against the background of Tbilisi’s attempts to destabilize the situation in the Georgian-populated Gali District of Abkhazia.
“That the Georgian side is terrorizing the local population [in Gali] in order to prevent their integration into the political and social-economic space of the Republic of Abkhazia is quite obvious,” Apsnipress quoted Bagapsh as saying.
He blamed the Georgian special services for abducting Pridon Chakaberia, chief of the administration of a Kvemo Bargebi village in the Gali District, and Davit Sigua, head of the Gali District's local election commission.
Bagapsh also noted that Tbilisi wants an atmosphere of tension in the Gali District on the eve of local self-governance and parliamentary elections in the breakaway region, which are scheduled for February 11 and March 4, respectively.
He said that these elections should be a step forward towards the integration of the ethnic Georgian population of Gali into Abkhaz society.