The Moscow municipality will continue to carry out various investment projects in Abkhazia, Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov said on July 9.
An agreement on economic cooperation between the secessionist authorities and the municipality was signed during Abkhaz leader Sergey Bagapsh's visit to Moscow, RIA Novosti news agency reported.
“We have chosen a number of investment projects in Abkhazia, particularly in the energy and healthcare sectors," Luzhkov said. "We are glad that the socio-economic situation is improving in Abkhazia and we are ready to further support this process.” .
The Moscow mayor also said is was difficult to imagine holding the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Russia’s Black Sea resort of Sochi without the participation of “such a kind neighbor as Abkhazia.” The province is less than 40 kilometers from the host town.
Meanwhile, authorities in Tbilisi have warned Russia against investing in breakaway Abkhazia.
“The sale of assets in Abkhazia is illegal, but unfortunately it still happens,” Gela Bezhuashvili, the Georgian foreign minister, said on July 9, while speaking at a joint press conference in Tbilisi with his visiting Bulgarian counterpart.
“Everyone should know," he said, "that the time will come when illegally purchased property will be returned to the legal owners.”
He said that Georgian state agencies, including the ministries of foreign affairs, refugees and accommodation, and internal affairs, as well as the National Bank of Georgia, were currently preparing a list of Russian organizations and companies, which have purchased assets in Abkhazia.
“In some cases they are private companies, in other cases, [Russian] state agencies,” Bezhuashvili added.
The National Bank of Georgia said recently it planned to ask foreign banks to close the accounts of Russian firms and individuals that had bought assets in Abkhazia.
Georgian Minister for Refugees and Accommodation, Gia Kheviashvili, said Russian organizations had bought a total of 31 assets in Abkhazia, mainly holiday villas, as well as a wine factory.