In a televised address to the nation, Abkhaz leader Raul Khajimba said on October 22 that Moscow does not try to “impose” its proposed draft of new treaty on Abkhazia and called for “calm working atmosphere” to develop Sokhumi’s proposals and to avoid “discrediting idea” of expanding ties with Moscow.
Reiterating that he too has disagreements with some parts of the Moscow-proposed draft, Khajimba said that the ongoing public discussion in Abkhazia will lead to development of “balanced” text, which will then be negotiated by the Abkhaz team of negotiators, composed of representatives from executive and legislative authorities, with Russia.
“I want to stress that my vision about the treaty on a number of its provisions differs from the draft of the Russian side. But no one tries to impose on us certain position. It is subject of further negotiations. This is an absolutely normal practice in relations between two friendly states; therefore, there is no need to portray the situation as if a certain ultimatum has been set to Abkhazia. The Russian side is ready for open friendly dialogue and hopes that we will reciprocate,” Khajimba said, adding that “calm working atmosphere” is required for productive negotiations because “it is about the interests of the entire country and not of separate political groups.”
“I will not accept groundless accusations,” the Abkhaz leader continued. “The Abkhaz leadership is working in the interests of the country and its people; we seek to resolve the issues based on opinion of wider public.”
“Therefore, I call on all political forces in the country for mutual tolerance and cooperation and to refrain from aggressive rhetoric and to create conditions for the stability, which are necessary for discussing this and other important issues of state building.”
“Abkhazia has no ally other than Russia and we have no right to discredit idea of expanding and deepening of our cooperation in various directions. I want to especially stress that we will carry out such cooperation solely based on our constitution and inviolability of sovereignty.”
He also said that outlining “common defense”, strengthening border protection with Georgia, creation of “conditions for freedom of movement of people and cargo across Russian-Abkhaz border, easing of customs procedures”, which should be addressed by the new treaty, “correspond to our interests.”
Rejecting these issues, Khajimba said, would hamper Abkhazia’s further economic development and would also make “irreparable damage” to Sokhumi’s bilateral ties with Moscow.
“There are all the possibilities to include in the document very concrete formulations, which on the one hand will not cause any concern over our sovereignty, and on the other will give new impetus to strategic alliance with Russia,” Khajimba said.
“This issue should not divide, but unite our society. We have all the possibilities for constructive dialogue and for resolving differences in calm” atmosphere, Khajimba said.