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Russian Defense Minister Visits Abkhazia
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 14 Jul.'11 / 14:37

Russia’s Defense Minister, Anatoly Serdyukov, arrived for a working visit in breakaway Abkhazia on July 13, Abkhaz news agency, Apsnipress, reported.

Serdyukov, who met with the breakaway region’s defense minister Merab Kishmaria, said that Russia was planning to build a military hospital in Abkhazia as part of its military base number 7, stationed in the breakaway region.

Alexander Ankvab, acting president of the breakaway region, who also met with Serdyukov, said that the new military hospital would be a “high-tech complex”, the likes of which had never existed in Abkhazia before. Ankvab said that location had yet to be selected for building the hospital, which would serve both the Russian and Abkhaz servicemen.

Serdyukov denied reports that Russia was intending to increase number of its troops stationed in Abkhazia.

“No such decision has been taken,” he said.

According to the Abkhaz news agency, Apsnipress, one of the major issues discussed during the meeting with Serdyukov and acting president of the breakaway region, Alexander Ankvab, was controversy over a Soviet-old resort, known as “Sanatorium Sukhumsky”.

This resort complex was handed over to the Russian Defense Ministry as a result of “inter-state agreements between Abkhazia and Russia.”

After the Russian MoD decided to carry out major reconstruction of the resort complex its workers were fired, triggering their protest, becoming one of the sources of controversy between Sokhumi and Moscow.

Serdyukov said after meeting with acting president of the breakaway region, Alexander Ankvab, on July 13, that after the major reconstruction staff of the resort complex would be recruited from the local population.

“The major reconstruction will require significant investments. We want it to become kind of starting point for the growth of Abkhazia’s tourism business,” Apsnipress news agency quoted Serdyukov as saying after meeting with Ankvab.

“We’ve found solution to the issue,” Ankvab said. “The Russian and Abkhaz sides have understanding, that facilities need to be reconstructed and the Russian side is fulfilling its commitments based on the labor code. On our part, we are taking commitment to pay all the employees of the sanatorium compensation in a form of two-third of their salary.”

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