Sokhumi will resort to “proportional measures” to protect vessels en route to Abkhazia if Tbilisi continues their detention, Abkhaz leader, Sergey Bagapsh, said in his appeal to UN, EU and French President Nicolas Sarkozy on August 18.
Georgian coast guard detained a Turkish cargo vessel carrying fuel to the breakaway region’s capital Sokhumi on August 17. The Georgian law on occupied territories bans economic activities in breakaway Abkhazia and South Ossetia without Tbilisi’s authorization.
Sergey Bagapsh write in his appeal that the detention of the Turkish cargo vessel was “third case of Georgia’s piracy” this year.
“This incident proves continuing Georgian policy aimed at destabilization of situation in the region. It uses various methods for this purpose – political, as well as economic pressure on Abkhazia,” Bagapsh said and also blamed the Georgian side for masterminding two explosions in Abkhazia – one in Gagra, which killed two people and one in Sokhumi on August 12.
“Absence of adequate assessment of the Georgian authorities by numerous international observers [reference to EU Monitoring Mission] and the international community is regarded by the Abkhaz side as a deliberate encouragement of Georgia’s aggressive policy, which may lead to escalation of tensions,” Bagapsh said.
He also said that viability of international mechanisms set up after the August war, including Geneva discussions, would depend on the international community’s ability “to influence on Georgia to prevent further provocations.”
“We also seek your assistance in return of the vessel, seized by the Georgian border guard [on August 17],” Bagapsh writes in his appeal. “Otherwise, the Abkhaz side reserves the right to resort to proportional measures to protect cargo heading to Abkhazia and we put the blame for possible consequences fully on the Georgian side.”