Being part of Europe, Abkhazia considers close cooperation with the EU as on of its foreign policy priorities, the breakaway region’s foreign ministry said in a statement on April 13, the Abkhaz news agency, Apsnipress, reported.
The statement was made in response to a resolution “on the review of the European Neighbourhood Policy - Eastern Dimension” passed by the European Parliament on April 7.
The resolution, among other things, calls on EU's diplomatic service, the European External Action Service (EEAS), “to develop more confidence-building measures and programmes, including the launching of new missions and public communication strategies and the consideration of pragmatic initiatives and innovative approaches such as informal contacts and consultations with the societies of the breakaway territories, while conserving the EU's non-recognition policy, in order to support civic culture and community dialogue.”
The breakaway region’s foreign ministry welcomed the resolution and said it would contribute to “de-isolation” of Abkhazia and establishment of direct contacts with the EU.
It said that the resolution“has a significant importance for planning of future cooperation of the Republic of Abkhazia with various EU institutions.”
It said that the Abkhaz side viewed positively messages in the resolution, which were “based on a measured pragmatic policy of good neighborhood in favor of establishing a dialogue and closer cooperation.”
The breakaway region’s foreign ministry said that diversification of external relations and boosting direct contacts “is the only rational” approach, which would help “removing long-standing political and economic isolation of Abkhazia.”
“Establishment of direct contacts in the fields of culture, education and business will strengthen the authority of European institutions in the Abkhaz society, which has been considerably undermined during last years,” the statement reads.
“Moreover, de-isolation of Abkhazia and direct cooperation with the European Union will contribute to the development of democratic civil society in Abkhazia, and will create favorable conditions for peaceful settlement of the conflict,” it said.
“On its part, Abkhazia has always expressed its readiness to discuss pragmatic initiatives and innovative approaches in conflict resolution.”
The resolution also calls on EU foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, and EEAS “to step up their involvement in finding a solution to the protracted conflicts… based on the principles of international law – in particular non-use of force, self-determination and territorial integrity – through more active policy stances, more active participation and a more prominent role in permanent and ad hoc conflict resolution structures, including already existing negotiating formats.”
Commenting on this part of the resolution, the breakaway region’s foreign ministry said that conflict resolution in the South Caucasus “should be based not only on respect of sovereignty and territorial integrity, but also on the right of nations to self-determination.”
“By enshrining this principle in the resolution, the European Parliament has actually noted equivalence of the right of nations to self-determination with other principles of international law,” the statement reads.