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Russia Quits Abkhazia Sanctions Treaty
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 6 Mar.'08 / 17:38

The Foreign Ministry of the Russian Federation has announced the country's withdrawal from the 1996 CIS treaty on the imposition of economic sanctions on Abkhazia.

Below is an unofficial translation of the Russian MFA statement:

"The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation has sent the Executive Committee of the Commonwealth of Independent States an official note, informing it that the Russian Federation, due to changed circumstances, no longer considers itself bound by the provisions of the Decision of the Council of the Heads of State of the CIS "On Measures to Regulate the Conflict in Abkhazia, Georgia" of 19 January 1996. That decision has imposed a ban on official trade, economic, financial transport and other links with Abkhazia.
 
As it is known, this decision was taken in 1996 against the background of acute confrontation in the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict which continued after the bloody war of 1992-1993. At that time, its objective was to convince Abkhazia to assume a more flexible position, primarily, on matters of refugee and IDP return.

Today, the situation has dramatically changed. The majority of refugees of Georgian nationality has returned to the Gali district. Extending this process is prevented by the refusal of Georgia to agree to the rules of their registration proposed by UNHCR.

In terms of participation in the process of conflict resolution, the Abkhaz side is fulfilling its obligations on key agreements in this area. It is ready for practical steps for strengthening confidence and security in the zone of conflict. Against this background, the Georgian side is not demonstrating a similar constructive approach to fulfilling earlier commitments. Moreover, it undermines the negotiation process, by placing an administration subordinate to Tbilisi in the upper part of Kodori Gorge of Abkhazia.

Against this background, maintaining prohibitions established by the mentioned Decision is completely pointless, and prevents a realization of socio-economic programs in the region, forcing Abkhaz people into unjustified suffering.

Lifting of the sanctions on Abkhazia is in keeping with the general practice of gradual softening and lifting of forceful measures if a target [of sanctions] is taking steps to fulfill the demands of the international community. The Group of Friends of the UN Secretary General on Georgia has spoken in favour of this decision, and its recommendations were supported by the UN Security Council.

The Russian MFA also proposes that other CIS member-states abandon the sanctions regime against Abkhazia, imposed in 1996."

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