April 24, 2012

Abkhazia: Meeting With European Union Delegation

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Abkhazia met with officials of the European Union to discuss project development.

Below is an article published by MFA Abkhazia:

On April 23, 2012 the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Abkhazia, Viacheslav Chirikba met with the delegation of the European Union, comprising of the Head of Operations Section Ramon Reigada, Project Manager Eve Troy and the Head of Political Section Tobias Tahyberg. The Abkhaz side was presented by the Deputy Minister Irakli Khintba and the Head of Europe, the USA and Canada Department, Lana Agrba.

At the meeting were discussed various issues relating to current and completed projects, financed by the EU. According to the head of the delegation Ramon Reigada, the EU intends to implement the work in Abkhazia directly rather than through UN agencies. As one variant of such cooperation, the EU put forward the idea of establishing of an information center in Sukhum. "You should also propose to us possible areas of work "- added Reigada.

Viacheslav Chirikba informed the guests about the work of international NGOs in Abkhazia, noting that some of them lack transparency. Answering the question of the Minister on possible alternatives to the INGOs in Abkhazia, the EU officials said that the work of some technical companies can be viewed as one of the options. The guests were also interested in the regulation of relations between NGOs and the Government.

On this occasion, the Deputy Minister Irakli Khintba said: "We are pleased that our NGOs have good contacts with the outside world, but we want the EU to interact with Abkhazia not only at non-governmental level but also at the state level," said Khintba.

They also exchanged views on further EU projects in Abkhazia. The EU representatives have proposed the idea of trainings in Abkhazia for local media workers with involvement of foreign media experts.

During the meeting they also discussed issues of political nature. In particular, the Foreign Minister stressed that Abkhazia is a European country, and all attempts to connect us with Georgia have no prospects. It was once again stated about the inadmissibility of the so-called “neutral passports” issued by Georgia, and also about the desire to put entry visas in the Abkhaz passports. The Deputy Minister Irakli Khintba stressed that for Abkhazia it is very important to see the difference in the approaches of the EU and Georgia, since such difference is not entirely clear.