Abkhaz leader Sergey Bagapsh, who visited the neighboring Russian Republic of Karachaevo-Cherkessia on October 6-7, called on the local businessmen there to invest in Abkhazia’s tourism industry, saying that the authorities of the unrecognized republic can guarantee security.
Bagapsh was speaking at a meeting with the representatives of the local public movements, which was also attended by President of Karachaevo-Cherkessia Mustafa Batdyev, the news agency Regnum reported.
“Today we can guarantee security. Despite political and economic difficulties, the situation in Abkhazia is stable and it is becoming more attractive for investments. This year, for the first time since the war [1992-93], 1.1 million tourists visited Abkhazia. Just to compare: last year only 200,000 [tourists] visited Abkhazia,” Sergey Bagapsh said.
He said that the country’s budget is also increasing. “In 2005 the state budget amounts to 800 million [Russian] Rubles [approximately USD 28 million]. The budget will increase up to 1.2 billion Rubles [USD 42.1 million] by 2007,” the Abkhaz leader said.
He also commented on the demographic situation in the region and said that many ethnic Abkhazians, who currently live abroad, mainly in Turkey, refrain from moving back to Abkhazia because of the difficult economic situation in the unrecognized republic.
“Currently there are less than 70 thousand Abkhazians living in the republic,” Bagapsh said.
He also said that obtaining Abkhaz citizenship “will not be a problem” for those residents of Karachaevo-Cherkessia, who wish to move to Abkhazia. Bagapsh said that it is possible to buy an apartment, or to build a new one in Abkhazia. He also said that the main problem will be finding a job.