Russia Eyes Minsk, Baku to Move Geneva Talks, Sokhumi Says

On February 26, the de-facto leader of occupied Abkhazia, Aslan Bzhania, and Abkhazia’s top diplomat, Inal Ardzinba, reported that Moscow insists on moving the Geneva International Discussions to another location, mentioning that at the moment, “Minsk and Baku are being considered” as alternative venues. Presenting the report on the activities of the de-facto ministry, Ardzinba noted that the Russian Foreign Ministry considers that Geneva is no longer able to provide “equal conditions for the participants of the negotiation process”.

Aslan Bzhania noted that this issue was raised by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov during his visit to Moscow.

“As far as the Geneva discussion is concerned, at the last meeting with Mr Lavrov, he spoke about the fact that this platform had, so to speak, largely exhausted itself. So he asked whether the Abkhazian side would have any objection to continuing work on finding a more suitable one. We discussed, among others, the capital of Belarus, Minsk, or the capitals of other states, the most neutral states of the former Soviet Union,” Bzhania said.

Ardzinba added that Azerbaijan, particularly the capital Baku, is also being considered as a potential venue for the talks.

Ardzinba’s 2023 report

Regarding the relations with Russia, Ardzinba spoke about the importance of the 2024-2025 plan of consultations with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, which are aimed at strengthening the so-called interagency cooperation. He noted that there are plans to implement joint projects with Russia in the areas of health care, education, sports, culture and emergency response. Ardzinba also noted that the so-called dual citizenship agreement with Russia is in its final stage, emphasizing that hundreds of young Abkhazians have access to Russian universities, internships and jobs.

As for relations with Belarus, Inal Ardzinba emphasized the “successful registration” of the “Trade House Abkhazia” in Minsk, which “strengthens trade relations” with the country. He noted the duty-free import of Abkhazian goods into Belarus, as well as progress on a project involving Belarusian investors planned for eastern Abkhazia.

Inal Ardzinba emphasized that the interaction with the Standing Committee of the Union State of Russia and Belarus has increased over the past year. He also reported that the de-facto ministry is actively working to increase participation in BRICS events chaired by Russia in order to open new opportunities for Abkhazia’s international cooperation.

Speaking about relations with the Middle East, Ardzinba noted his trip to Syria and meetings with high-ranking Syrian officials, adding that there are plans for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to visit Abkhazia, as well as the establishment of a de-facto Syrian embassy in occupied Sokhumi. Ardzinba said that with Assad’s help, relations with Algeria and Iran have been developed. As for other countries, Ardzinba stressed that Palestine, Afghanistan, Yemen, North Korea and Serbia have been contacted to “recognize” occupied Abkhazia.

Lastly, Ardzinba stated that the Abkhazian de-facto the Ministry of Foreign Affairs “provides systematic information support for the special military operation [Russia’s military invasion in Ukraine] and regularly interacts with the new [occupied] regions of the Russian Federation.”

Also Read:

This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)


Back to top button