Breakaway Abkhazia’s foreign ministry said use of term “occupied territory” in reference to Abkhazia by the U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was an “insult” to the Abkhaz society.
“We regard totally unacceptable and illegitimate use of term ‘occupation’ by Madam Secretary in respect of presence of the Russian troops on the territory of Abkhazia. Exploiting propagandistic and false thesis about ‘Russian occupation’ insults people of Abkhazia and damages image of the United States in the Abkhaz society,” the breakaway region’s foreign ministry said in a statement on June 9.
“Having experienced multiple acts of aggression from Georgia, we know too well the price of peace and security. Security guarantees, provided by the Russian Federation, is a conscious choice of the people of Abkhazia and is a result of the bilateral agreements between our states. Therefore, thesis about ‘Russian occupation’ is in conflict with international law and its support directly fuels revanchist stance of the leadership in Tbilisi,” it said.
In the same statement, the breakaway region’s foreign ministry again slammed the U.S. decision to accept Georgia’s neutral travel documents issued for the residents of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. It said that with this decision the U.S. “risks committing act of ‘collective punishment’ of the Abkhaz citizens by encouraging policy of the authorities in Tbilisi to isolate Abkhaz society.”
U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, Philip H. Gordon, said last year that use of term 'occupied' by Washington in reference to Abkhazia and South Ossetia was not meant to be a "provocation," but simply description of situation on the ground. “We don’t know what else to call it," he said in March, 2011.