Inal Ardzinba, occupied Abkhazia’s top diplomat, met with Mikhail Shurgalin, the Russian “ambassador” to the region, on 18 November to discuss the dual citizenship agreement with Russia as well as problems with Russian border guards being more respectful towards Abkhaz deputies and people.
The Abkhaz “foreign ministry’s” press release denoted that while discussing the recently signed dual citizenship agreement – which will launch a mechanism to allow Abkhazians to obtain Russian citizenship without giving up their Abkhaz passport – the two sides noted that ratification procedures began as soon as the agreement was signed.
Per the same information, the agreement will enter into force on the date of the exchange of instruments of ratification.
During the meeting, Ardzinba also raised the issue of Russian border guards mistreating Abkhaz deputies and citizens at the behest of several Abkhaz members of parliament who alleged that following their visit to Moscow at the beginning of November, they were delayed by Russian border guards, who stopped and searched them.
The deputies also highlighted that they receive “numerous complaints from citizen […] in connection with the fact that they are detained for a long time without explanation by the employees of the Border Department of the FSB of Russia, which complicates the border crossing.”
“We ask our people’s deputies and fellow citizens to be treated with respect,” Ardzinba emphasized and noted that they plan to send a letter to the Russian Foreign Ministry with a request for them to address these incidents.
The meeting also considered the issue of creating new mechanisms for the trilateral Abkhazia-Russia-Belarus format to “monitor and intensify trade, economic, humanitarian, and political ties between the countries.”
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