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Sokhumi Criticizes EU's Abkhaz Policy
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 18 Jan.'11 / 01:29

Maxim Gvinjia, foreign minister of breakaway Abkhazia, said Sokhumi was "skeptical" about EU's policy of engagement without recognition, Abkhaz news agency, Apsnipress, reported on January 17.

"We do not see any concrete substance in it except of its declarative and political [nature], which to some extent provides covering for the Georgian strategy of so called occupied territories," Gvinjia told the Abkhaz television.

"We are ready for cooperation with Europe if this cooperation is not imposed on us through Georgia. We won't be establishing contacts with the European Union through Georgia," he said.
 
"In the future Europe will be ready to have really civilized dialogue with Abkhazia and the West will change its attitude towards the issue of recognition of Abkhazia some time [in the future]," Gvinjia said and added, that right now Europe "is not ready for cooperation with Abkhazia in a way as it should be."

"But it can't last forever; it's impossible to ignore reality for so long... Non-recognition of Abkhazia by the West and EU is not our problem, it's their problem," he said. 

He also said in the same televised interview that visits of leaders of those countries, which had recognized Abkhazia, were expected in 2011.

Nicaragua, Venezuela and Nauru followed Russia's suit in recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

In December, 2009 EU agreed "parameters for non-recognition and engagement policy for Abkhazia and South Ossetia" aimed at carving out political and legal space within which the EU can interact with the breakaway regions without their recognition.

In an interview with Civil.ge last May, Peter Semneby, EU's special representative for South Caucasus, said that both the non-recognition and engagement "are indispensable parts of one policy."

"Non-recognition without engagement is counterproductive; it will only lead to raising barriers between the Georgians and people in these regions," he said. "But engagement without non-recognition part is a policy that would mean risk that any step that we take could be instrumentalized in various ways and misused to stake claims in this dispute about status. Engagement is not about status, but in order to disassociate engagement from the status we have to be clear where we stand on the status issue."

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