Two opposition groups in breakaway Abkhazia slammed yet to be signed Georgia-Russia WTO deal, in particular the provision involving international monitoring of trade across Abkhaz and South Ossetian sections of the border.
Aruaa, a union of Abkhaz war veterans, and Forum of People’s Unity of Abkhazia said in separate statements on November 7, that international monitoring would amount to “downgrading status of independent state,” Abkhaz news agency, Apsnipress, reported.
Both of these groups supported opposition candidate Raul Khajimba in the early presidential elections in August in which Khajimba received up to 20% of votes.
According to the Russia-Georgia WTO deal observers from a private company hired by the Swiss mediators will be deployed on the Russian side of the border and not inside breakaway Abkhazia and South Ossetia; another group of monitors will be stationed on the Georgian-controlled territory, outside the breakaway regions.
Aruaa said in the statement that it was “alarmed with the situation involving the Abkhaz state border in connection to Russia-Georgia agreement on Russia’s WTO accession.”
“Under the pretext of carrying out international monitoring, Georgia tries to establish control over the state borders of Abkhazia and South Ossetia,” Aruaa said, adding that it was “a first step” towards downgrading Abkhazia’s independence.
The union called on the Abkhaz leadership “to assess these developments and take appropriate measures to protect the state sovereignty of the Abkhaz Republic.”
Forum of People’s Unity of Abkhazia said that Russia-Georgia WTO deal in the part of monitoring of trade on the border was a threat to the Abkhaz security.
“No one should be deluded by planned international monitoring. Georgia is not only trying to control Abkhaz and South Ossetian borders, but also to regain its jurisdiction over these independent states. A precedent is being set of downgrading status of independent state, whose guarantor on the international arena is the Russian Federation,” it said.
Forum of People’s Unity of Abkhazia also said it was concerned that this issue, which directly related to Abkhazia, was discussed between Russia and Georgia without consultations with Sokhumi.