Sokhumi on Georgia’s NATO Integration

Breakaway Abkhazia’s foreign ministry said on Wednesday that Georgia’s NATO integration would have extremely negative consequences on the regional security.  

The breakaway region’s foreign ministry released the statement in response to remarks by Georgian Foreign Minister, Maia Panjikidze, who said that a visit of British Foreign Secretary William Hague to Tbilisi is important for number of reasons, including in the context of NATO summit in Wales in September. Hague arrived in Tbilisi from Ukraine on Wednesday evening and will hold talks with the Georgian leadership on May 8.

Abkhaz foreign ministry said in its statement that topics of discussions of Georgian officials with the British Foreign Secretary cause “our concern” because they are directly related to “Abkhazia’s national interests, first and foremost its security.”

“There is every reason to believe that the West is seriously intending to take revenge against Russia and its allies for their unwillingness to accept its [Western] dictate in Ukraine,” the breakaway region’s foreign ministry said.

“It is not ruled out that Abkhazia too may soon become a target of pressure from the Western states. Such a scenario would suit quite well revanchist forces in Georgia, who cannot reconcile with existence of independent Republic of Abkhazia and who are not giving up hope to ‘return Sukhumi’,” it said.

It also said that Georgia’s “NATO perspectives should be considered in the context” of recent remarks by NATO’s top military commander in Europe, U.S. Air Force General Philip Breedlove, who said on May 6 that NATO has to consider permanently stationing troops in its eastern European allies.

“It is not ruled out that some ‘hot heads’ in Tbilisi will be happy to make use of this situation in order to achieve deployment of NATO bases in Georgia. It will have extremely negative consequences for the regional security,” the breakaway region’s foreign ministry said, adding that in that case Sokhumi would seek to further boost military cooperation with Russia, which already has at least 3,500 army soldiers, plus border guard troops in Abkhazia.

Russia announced on May 6 about intention to send over 80 new, upgraded armored personnel carriers to its military base in Abkhazia this summer.


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