Sokhumi said it was “deeply concerned” about reports that some states have recognized Tbilisi’s status neutral travel documents designed for residents of Georgia’s breakaway regions.
The breakaway region’s foreign ministry said in a statement, that instead of its declared goal to promote engagement with Abkhazia, the neutral travel documents were in fact causing “the isolation of Abkhazia.”
Addressing Parliamentary Assembly of Council of Europe on January 25, Georgia’s Foreign Minister Grigol Vashadze thanked “several European states, including the Czech Republic, Lithuania” for giving “consent to recognize” neutral travel documents, which Tbilisi introduced late last year as part of its engagement strategy with the breakaway regions. According to the Georgian State Ministry for Reintegration, up to fifty neutral documents have been issued as of mid-January.
“Today, citizens of the Republic of Abkhazia have Russian passports as well as foreign Abkhaz passports, which meet all international standards. However, at the initiative of Georgia and its allies the practice of denying stamping Schengen visas in the Russian passports issued on the territory of Abkhazia has increased” recently, the breakaway Abkhazia’s foreign ministry said in the statement.
“Thereby, Tbilisi hopes to force citizens of Abkhazia to apply for Georgian ‘neutral passports’ and actively urges the international community in the promising perspective of this venture. However, it is another myth by Tbilisi authorities. And indeed the ‘neutrality’ of these documents is another myth: in the ‘country code’ ‘Georgia’ is specified.”
“The Georgian government is obviously trying to prevent the international communication of Abkhazia. Abkhazia is open to the world and it is the best refutation of the Tbilisi myths about ‘Russian occupation’, ‘gross human rights violations’, ‘ethnic cleansing’ and ‘lack of democracy’ in Abkhazia,” it said.
The breakaway region’s foreign ministry also said, that recognition of Tbilisi’s neutral travel documents, while “ignoring legitimate documents of Abkhaz residents will be considered as discrimination of the citizens of the Republic of Abkhazia and seen as another attempt to isolate the people of Abkhazia.”