SUKHUM -- In connection with statements of U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, during her visit to Georgia, Abkhazia's Foreign Ministry issued a statement.
The document states:
"After reviewing a number of statements made by U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, during her visit to Georgia, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Abkhazia considers it necessary to state the following.
“We consider completely unacceptable and unlawful the use by Madam Secretary of State of the term ‘occupation’ with reference to the presence of Russian military on the territory of Abkhazia. The exploitation of the propagandist and mendacious thesis about a ‘Russian occupation’ is offensive to the people of Abkhazia and damages the image of the United States in Abkhazian society. Having experienced repeated acts of aggression from Georgia, we know all too well the price of peace and security. The provision of security-guarantees by the Russian Federation is the conscious choice of the people of Abkhazia and the result of bilateral agreements between our two states. Therefore, the thesis of a ‘Russian occupation’ is contrary to international law, and any support given to it will directly stoke up the revanchist feelings of the Tbilisi leadership.
“We also consider mistaken the decision of the USA, announced by Hillary Clinton, to recognise Georgia's so-called neutral passports. By this step, the United States risks committing an act of ‘collective punishment’ of the citizens of Abkhazia, by encouraging the policy of the Tbilisi government to isolate Abkhazian society.
“As for the propagandist campaign over ‘neutral travel documents’, this is yet another venture on the part of Mr. Saakashvili which has no chance of realisation. The citizens of Abkhazia find documents which they have not requested being foisted upon them. The decision to issue to citizens of Abkhazia Georgian so-called ‘neutral passports’ has never been discussed with the leadership of Abkhazia; it was decided behind our backs and against the will of the Abkhazian people. We are being offered precisely a Georgian, and not a neutral, document, the adoption of which entails automatic rejection of Abkhazian state-identity.
“The citizens of the Republic of Abkhazia refused to accept Georgian passports even in those years when they did not possess any legal documents for the implementation of their inalienable right to travel. They refused because they were building an independent state and did not want to have anything to do with Georgia, an aggressor which annihilated 4% of Abkhazia’s population. And today, the idea of the Abkhazian independent democratic state serves as the meaning of life for the multi-ethnic people of Abkhazia. The residents of Abkhazia possess a national passport conforming to all international standards as well as a passport generally recognised by the Russian Federation. Therefore, Tbilisi’s playing around with so-called ‘neutral passports" is doomed to failure in advance. Imposing Georgian documents on the citizens of Abkhazia is futile, and this is well understood by all who have a real appreciation of Abkhazian society.
“We look forward to a responsible approach from the U.S. administration, which should allow our citizens the opportunity to travel to the United States on the documents of their own choosing. In order fully to protect the rights of the citizens of Abkhazia and to deisolate Abkhazian society, we call upon the U.S. government to the documents available to the citizens of Abkhazia in its consular offices. Only the Tbilisi authorities can take comfort from a situation in which the U.S. government, by refusing to grant visas on the basis of national Abkhazian or Russian passports, closes its country to the citizens of Abkhazia.
“Continuing the policy of isolating Abkhazia on the grounds of support for Georgian militarism and revanchism is the worst thing that the U.S. government could do in terms of conflict-resolution and stabilising the situation in the region. We urge the U.S. administration not to follow the lead of Tbilisi and to take into account the opinion of the public and the legal authorities of the Republic of Abkhazia on all matters directly affecting the interests of our country and its citizens."