November 18, 2009
Abkhazia: EUís Use of Satellite Condemned by Sokhum
The European Union’s attempts to monitor the situation in Abkhazia through satellite imagery has drawn strong criticism from Foreign Minister Sergei Shamba
Below is an article published by Eurasianet
The European Union’s plan to use satellite images to monitor the security situation in Georgia’s conflict zones is drawing an angry reaction.
"Because we are not letting European Commission monitors in Abkhazia, they have decided to watch us from outer space," de facto Abkhaz foreign minister Sergei Shamba was quoted as saying on November 17 2009 by the Kavkazsky Uzel news service.
Shamba complained that the European Union Monitoring Mission, the only international mechanism set up to observe the cease-fire with Russia in Georgia, works, in effect, to protect Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili’s rule.
EU observers said earlier that, amid constant accusations from all sides, satellite images will determine the real situation in the conflict areas, but cannot become an effective alternative to observation on the ground.
Abkhazia and South Ossetia, both now home to Russian military bases, do not allow European monitors onto their territories. Shamba said that Sukhumi will allow European observers access only if the EU recognizes Abkhazia’s independence from Georgia.