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Tbilisi Condemns Russian-Abkhaz Passenger Boat Service
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 18 Aug.'10 / 23:30

Maritime traffic to ferry passengers from Russia's Black Sea ports to Gagra in breakaway Abkhazia "is an open challenge to the international community and yet another clear demonstration that Russia does not consider itself bound" by international norms, the Georgian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on August 17.

According to the reports by Russian news agencies, hovercraft boats, operated by a Sochi-based firm, launched this month regular traffic carrying passengers between Russia's Black Sea port of Tuapse in north of Sochi and Gagra. The boats make several stops before reaching Gagra, including in Sochi for passport control.

Officials in Sokhumi say, that land border crossing facilities with Russia can not properly handle existing volume of traffic during the summer, causing jams at border crossing point "Adler" and the launched maritime traffic is hoped to ease traffic on the land border.

The Georgian Foreign Ministry said that by launching maritime traffic with the breakaway region, Russia violates number of international conventions, as well as Georgia's law on occupied territories.  

It called on the international community to take relevant measures to secure Russia's fulfillment of its international commitments.

Maxim Gvinjia, foreign minister of breakaway Abkhazia, told RFE/RL's Russian-language service, Ekho Kavkaza, that the launched maritime traffic aimed at easing ordinary people's transpiration problems.

"I don't understand why it causes concern and protest [in Tbilisi], that it is becoming better here - that's terrible," Gvinjia said.

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