Russian President Vladimir Putin has instructed Russian ministries and other state agencies to establish official ties with counterpart agencies in breakaway South Ossetia and Abkhazia, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on April 16.
The Russian state agencies have been instructed to:
- Cooperate with counterpart agencies in Abkhazia and South Ossetia;
- Organize cooperation in trade-economic; social; scientific; cultural fields, and include Russian regions in the process;
- Define a list of documents issued by Abkhaz and South Ossetian state agencies to individuals, that will be recognized by counterpart state agencies of the Russian Federation;
- Recognize legal entities, registered by the laws of Abkhazia and South Ossetia;
- Provide legal assistance in the field of civil, family and criminal law;
- Russian Foreign Ministry local representations in the Krasnodar district (at the Abkhaz border) and in Russia’s North Ossetian Republic (at the border with South Ossetia) will perform, if necessary, consular functions by providing assistance to residents of Abkhazia and South Ossetia;
“It is also envisaged to develop additional proposals on concrete directions of further interaction with Abkhazia and South Ossetia in favor of the social-economic development of these republics, protection of rights of the population living there, including the Russian citizens,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
“Implementation of these instructions by the President will allow creating mechanisms for comprehensive protection of rights, freedoms and legal interests of the Russian citizens residing in Abkhazia and South Ossetia.”
It also said that a key motive behind the decision was “to take care of the interests of population of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, including of Russian citizens living there.”
“Our actions in respect of Abkhazia and South Ossetia do not mean that Russia makes a choice in favor of confrontation with Georgia. We are in favor of removing all sanctions and restrictions, hindering the social-economic development of the region. This is confirmed with resumption of air and sea traffic with Georgia, as well as with other moves, which represent a positive alternative to the course of the present Georgian leadership,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
It also noted that deepening economic cooperation with Abkhazia was in the line of the April 15, 2008 resolution of the UN Security Council.
“Implementation of the above-mentioned measures will promote strengthening of security and stability in the Caucasus region,” the Foreign Ministry said.
It also said that unresolved conflict in the both regions has deteriorated condition of local residents in Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
“Their conditions are worsened by Tbilisi’s actions, which actually neglects the capabilities of the existing mechanisms for establishing normal economic relations, solving social problems in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The Georgian leadership refuses to sign with Sokhumi and Tskhinvali binding documents on non-use of force and non-resumption of hostilities, builds up its offensive armament and demonstrates aggressive intentions, particularly in the upper part of the Kodori Gorge,” it said and added that against this background Tbilisi’s new initiatives of the Abkhaz conflict settlement “cannot be perceived seriously.”
It was reported shortly after the Russian Foreign Ministry’s statement was released that President Saakashvili had convened a session of the National Security Council.